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Friday, March 16, 2018

The Chinese were saved by the Russian confectioners, overseeding, our chocolate

Last fall it seemed that the domestic confectionery industry is waiting for a complete collapse. Import of cocoa beans and their products from January to September 2015 fell by a third compared to the same period of 2014, the chocolate rose by almost 40%. Demand fell sharply. Beyond profitability was every fourth enterprise. The threat of dismissal hangs over 80 thousands of pastry chefs. But now the picture is quite different. Within four months of this year growth of production volumes of confectionery products in the whole country amounted to 4.4%, chocolate products — 5%, the export of which increased by nearly 13%. Center for research of the confectionery market (CICR) reports: “the Confectionery industry of Russia has passed the bottom of the crisis in March and April celebrates the restoration of its many key indicators. Consider the components of this sweet economic miracle.

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

First things first, namely import duties. In conversation with the correspondent “MK” Executive Director of CICR Elizabeth Nikitin said that the duties on cocoa beans were abolished in 2005, and zero rate is still in effect. It is quite logical, since these “trees” do not grow.

However, beans alone is not enough. For chocolate need cocoa paste and cocoa butter. And this pleasure not cheap. A ton of cocoa paste in the last year was worth about $5000, and cocoa butter — $7000. Plus import duties: pasta — 3%, oil 5%. The unstable ruble and the falling demand has driven the industry to a standstill. That’s why a year ago, the Association of enterprises of confectionery industry “ASKOND” has addressed in Ministry of economic development with request to annul duties on products of cocoa processing.

Not once heard them, I had, of course, to wait. And that’s the end of February this year a decision was made to abolish the duties on pasta and butter (to end 2017). Cocoa powder until not one of them joined. De facto in zero rate, confectioners began to work from the end of March. So manufacturers of chocolate products we now have in “full chocolate”.

According to experts, the abolition of duty-frees for the industry more than 1 billion rubles a year. In connection with this question, and maybe we, the consumers, something perepadet? In other words: does cheaper chocolate? Ms. Nikitina said “MK”: “to Wait for cheaper chocolate products is unlikely, as prices for raw materials remain at very high levels, rather this measure will help producers”. Understandable, because producers are people too and they need to live.

Another factor that revives our confectionaries, has become a growing export. In addition to traditional trading partners of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, Russia will have a new, virtually bottomless market, China.

If a year ago China was not even in the top ten buyers, now the volume of purchases of bakery products with extended shelf life (cookies, waffles, cupcakes, rolls, cakes), she came in third place. And chocolate confectionaries China, showing an increase of 2.5 times, is firmly established in the four leaders. And the dynamics is on the increase.

The growth of exports — it is certainly good, including for the country’s prosperity. And how do things stand with domestic demand? In January-February 2016 the consumption of chocolate by Russians dropped to 3.8 kg (in terms of per person per year). According to CICR, the maximum value for the five-year period showed 2014 is 4.3 kg. because of the high cost of chocolate products people have switched to flour (already mentioned above biscuits, rolls, cakes).

But the latter, in turn, also more expensive. So, according to the observations MK, the Metropolitan middle class with a mediocre roll with poppy seeds (400 g) at the beginning of the year cost 95 rubles, now 135. It is not difficult to calculate that only in six months the growth amounted to 42%. The rate of price increase is clearly ahead of the annual 40% chocolate.

Nevertheless, the experts record the revival of interest in the sweet and in the domestic market. Now let us turn to statistics. During the first quarter of this year imports of cocoa beans increased by 30.5% compared to the same period of 2015, while refined palm oil by nearly 40%. These two components are referred to as primary specialists in the confectionery industry.

So, without Pulaski” is here. Will have to put up with it. The correspondent of “MK” asked the experts-confectioners: “And after all, what is the percentage clean from the “palm” of the products to the chocolate, candy, flour?” The specific answer has not sounded.

One can only conclude that the Chinese well, and Russian will do.

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