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Russian ingredients gain credibility

20-Jun-2005

Russian confectionery firm Samoilova will buy more of its ingredients from domestic producers, in a move that signals the growing quality of the Russian ingredients market, reports Angela Drujinina.

The firm said it planned to buy more of its natural ingredients, such as fruit, berries and pectins, in Russia to help increase volumes of zephyr, pastila and marmalade by the end of this year. The firm wants about 20 per cent of this confectionery market segment by then.

The move will boost Russia's ingredients sector at a time when many top producers feel they have to look abroad for the best quality.

Samoilova, part of Russia's United Confectioners group, now believes sourcing domestically can maintain high quality standards whilst also enabling it cut costs. It also wants to increase zephyr supplies to central regions of the country and Moscow region

The firm said that all its products were manufactured to international quality standards and that a combination of natural ingredients, traditional technologies and modern equipment made its zephyr range very tasty.

Many of Samoilova's products are also enriched with vitamins and functional additives, though it was unclear how many of these would be sourced domestically.

The company's factory, the oldest confectionery plant in St. Petersburg, is able to produce about 72 tons of zephyr per month. Manufacture levels of zephyr, marmalade and pastila reached about 6000 tons in 2004.

Samoilova currently manufactures the following types of zephyr: vanilla, blackberry, strawberry with cream, vanilla with chocolate. Novelties of the factory are fruit zephyr with pieces of marmalade and cream zephyr with a glazed chocolate bottom.

The company's success, however, has been hard fought over the last decade.

The firm was founded in 1862. Alexandr Nekrasov, an ex-Samoilova director, said: "Samoilova confectionery was profitable when it was privatised in 1992. The factory was sold to American firm Kraft Foods, and it almost destroyed everything: there were no serious investments; the manufacture of candies, zephyr and marmalade was stopped, and we lost our markets.

"As a result, the level of production decreased by 10-12 times. When the Americans sold the factory to Krasnyi Okteabri to become part of the United Confectioners group, it had about US$12m losses."

After Samoilova factory was purchased, Krasnyi Okteabri managers said the company must become financially independent. A new team came to the factory and 50 new products have appeared within the last two years, according to Nekrasov, who remained cautious about the future under United Confectioners.

United Confectioners' factories have produced pastila and marmalade products for more than 50 years. During this time, it has developed unique technologies for manufacturing zephyr, pastila and marmalade.

Zephyr and marmalade, manufactured at Zeea, Iasnaya Polyana, Novosibirskaya, are decorated with numerous awards and certificates from different Russian and international exhibitions and contests.