Russian Olive Oil Market

Analysis of olive oil import to Russia reveals the following trend. In early 2000s import was growing in leaps, sometimes demonstrating doubled or even tripled year-to-year increase in volume; meanwhile in 2008 growth rate showed 2% year-to-year decline in volume. After the crisis of 2009 import volume re-started growth and went up by impressive 65% in 2010; however in 2011 market dynamics was moderate again. In 2011 import of olive oil of all kinds increased by 7% in volume and by a little more than 1% in value over 2010. This allows forecasting the average 5-10% annual growth of actual import volume in short term perspective.

Impressive year-to-year growth of olive oil import in 2010 was determined by the following factors. Maximum volume of olive oil import was registered in 2007, so in comparison to that year import volume increased in 2010 just by 36%. As recession started in 2008 import of olive oil somewhat declined – by 2% in volume against 2007. It should be considered that consumer base of olive oil is mainly constituted by affluent people affected by recession least of all, so they didn't seriously cut their expenditure on this category.

Consumption of olive oil in Russia remained the same while import declined, so by the end of 2009 stock of this product in Russia was practically exhausted. Therefore, in 2010 import had to both satisfy consumer demand and replenish the stock. Besides, import of the review category was boosted by increased share of cheap pomace olive oil in total volume. This stimulated demand for this cheaper product among less affluent consumers which means accretion of consumer base with new consumers instead of increased per capita consumption volume. Demand for non-food lampante olive oil also increased.

Still, impressive difference in price for sunflower seed oil and olive oil makes actual competition between these two products in Russia impossible in short term perspective. For middle-income consumers these two categories stand in far too different price segments.

Besides the price consumer preferences are determined by national traditions and mentality. For instance, senior Russians grew up on sunflower seed oil and thus perceive olive oil as something foreign and not corresponding to their culinary likings.

The largest supplier of olive oil to Russia is Spain with 55% of import volume and value in 2011. Italy was the next large importer of olive oil with 26% of import volume and value. Third large supplier was Greece with 9% of import volume and 11% of import value. Tunis, Portugal and Turkey aggregately provided 9% of olive oil import in volume and 7% in value. Share of other countries in import of olive oil to Russia was insignificant – no more than 1% in volume and value.

For analysis purposes we split the review market into three large categories: virgin olive oil, refined olive oil and pomace olive oil. In 2011 virgin olive oil provided 60% of import volume and 67% of its value; the difference was related to higher unit price in this category. Refined olive oil in 2011 constituted 21% of import volume and 20% of import value.

Respectively, share of pomace olive oil in total import constituted 19% in volume and 13% in value. The latter index is a reflection of the trend observed on Russian olive oil market through the recent 12 years. During the first year of olive oil import this category was practically neglected, however during 2001-2009 volume of pomace olive oil import increased almost by 300 times! Growth of the category continued during 2010-2011: pomace olive oil saw 2.4 times increase in volume during the said period.

It should be highlighted that pomace olive oil remains the cheapest offering on the review market and exactly this category contributed to the decline of the average import price during the recent 3 years. In 2010 the average import price of olive oil declined by 3% against 2009, in 2011 the decline continued and constituted another 6% against 2010.

However in the most expensive category, virgin olive oil, the average import price is pinned at its maximum reached in 2008 – $3.8 per kg.

Russian olive oil market offers wide diversity of brands (though the number of manufacturers is far fewer) however the market is highly consolidated. Top 8 brands control about 45% of import volume.

Spanish brand "Borges" remains the leader of Russian olive oil market with 14% of import volume. Other important brands on Russian olive oil market are: "Terra Creta" - 6% of import volume (Greece), "Monini" - 5% (Italy), "Spainolli" - 5% (Spain), "ITLV" - 5% (Spain), "Iberica" - 3% (Spain), "Maestro de Oliva" - 3% (Spain), "De Cecco" - 3% of import volume (Italy). It should be mentioned that "Terra Creta" is a recent member of the group of leaders: in 2009 it stood beyond top ten brands of olive oil market.

In terms of importing companies supplies of olive oil to Russia also remain quite unchanged. The largest 6 importers provided 48% of import volume in 2011. The group of leaders included "Baskoniya" LLC (Moscow) with 13% of olive oil import volume, "InterFood" LLC (Saint Petersburg) – 13%, "ITLV" LLC (Saint Petersburg) – 7%, "Tander" CJSC (Saint Petersburg) – 6%, "MosProd" LLC (Moscow Region) – 5%, "Paritet (Parity)" LLC (Saint Petersburg) – 4% of import volume.

Supplies of olive oil to Russia demonstrate no distinct seasonality. Some upswing of import is observed in November-December, at the start of new season oil supplies.
Marketers are doing their best to promote olive oil as a healthy dietary product, especially in the group of middle-aged Russian. This also engrafts olive oil consumption habit among the youth. This allows forecasting gradual growth of market volume by 5-7% annually during the next 5-7 years provided no crisis strikes.

Research of the Company "AS Marketing"

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