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Russia market potential
April 14, 2005

U.S. explores market potential in Russia 

The opportunity to sell Russia dry beans is growing, according to a report by a U.S. Dry Bean Council trade team that attended the country's largest food show in Moscow recently.

Kevin Anderson, East Grand Forks, Minn., and Gary Paur, Gilby, N.D., represented the Northarvest Bean Growers Association on the team.

The following is a summary from the team's report. For the complete report, visit the Northarvest Web site,

Emerging demand

Russia's economy is growing by 5% to 6% per year. Oil prices are up, creating a trade surplus and personal income has been increasing by 7% to 8% yearly.

Russia has the world's fastest growing retail food market, which may double in size by 2008 as it did between 2001 and 2004.

Imported and foreign-branded products in all categories are fashionable and sought after by a growing consumer segment.

New Western-style supermarkets are rapidly expanding to meet consumer demand for variety and service, creating a good venue for imported products.

Russian importers need supplies of dry beans especially during from September through March when fresh vegetables (often grown by Russians themselves in their own small gardens at their country homes) become depleted.

When the potato season is finished, Russians turn to dry beans as a replacement, adding beans to soups, in particular, for extra taste, color and texture. Russians also tend to consume dry beans during Lent, when it is customary to give up meat.

Russia imported approximately 17,000 MT of dry beans in 2004, mostly from China and Eastern Europe. But processors say they are interested in higher quality beans. The same situation exists with rice. Russia has plenty of domestic production and cheap imports, but buys higher quality U.S. rice and U.S. food products containing rice.

Beans that Russia wants

Russian buyers are interested dark red kidneys and Great Northerns for canning and dry packaging; and navies, pintos and cranberries for dry packaging.

Pintos and cranberries are similar to the speckled beans that Russia imports from Ukraine and Uzbekistan. There also is moderate interest in large lima, small red and black beans.


At a glance

*        Russia hold potential for U.S. dry bean exports

*        There is growing demand for quality products.

*        Importers need beans, especially from September-March when local, fresh supplies become depleted.

*        Navies, pintos and dark red kidneys may be on its shopping list in the future.


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