No impending crop shortage for Tatarstan dairies —

Producers of fermented milk products had the opportunity to receive state aid to develop culture production

Photo: Roman Khasayev (archives)

Rumors of an upcoming crop shortfall to make fermented dairy products due to Western sanctions for the special military operation in Ukraine may be propagated by their growers to gain preferences from the Russian government. The National Union of Dairy Producers Soyuzmoloko offered such a long-awaited version during an interview with Realnoe Vremya. Learn more about the real and invented problems of milk producers, the unique Russian fermented milk product that is not subject to any sanctions and the bonuses that milk producers in Tatarstan can receive due to these sanctions in our report.

Who chose the right supplier

After a discussion of the prospects of a shortage of foreign packaging for dairy products that Tatarstan had already found a substitute for, food market analysts began to talk in earnest about an upcoming shortage of crops to make fermented dairy products in Russian dairies. .

The fact that almost most of these enterprises have preferred to produce ryazhenka, sour cream, cottage cheese and other products without problems – with foreign dry cultures – for the past 30 years has become a cause for concern. The crops of Russian growers hold no more than 12% in the domestic market.

The dry cultures used in Russia and Tatarstan are made in Denmark, Bulgaria, Italy and some experts have already announced that Russian companies will have to stop or minimize the production of fermented dairy products over the next 5-6 months when stocks of crops purchased from producers earlier. And the products that companies will continue to produce will suddenly rise in price because the culture for them will have to be delivered by clever and time-consuming detours. But Soyuzmoloko denies this and assures that a crop deficit is not looming for Russian dairies.

Some experts have already announced that Russian companies will have to stop or minimize the production of fermented dairy products in the next 5-6 months. Photo: Anton Zhuravlyov

“Both are right,” a representative of one of Tatarstan’s dairies balanced in a conversation with Realnoe Vremya. “Now there are many suppliers of cultures and bacteria, both Russian and foreign. But some companies tailor their infrastructure to a specific vendor. This problem has not affected us because we mainly work with Russian culture producers, and our permanent suppliers guarantee the culture supply in the long term. However, I think some companies may have culture sourcing issues, especially those that have only worked with foreign cultures. Rebuilding supply chains and changing suppliers is not a task that cannot be done quickly.

In addition, he noted that even such a strictly domestic “strategic” product as our Tatar qatiq is made from dry crops today… for ryazhenka – only conditions change, temperature and duration of fermentation .

Only kefir is made from “ours”

“Direct dry cultures without activation to make fermented dairy products have never been done in the Russian Federation,” Yulia Tarasova, a technologist with 37 years of experience in the dairy industry from the Republic of Tatarstan, told Realnoe Vremya. . “None of the kefir grains that kefir is made here is produced and used abroad. It is made only from Russian grains, Europe and America do not drink kefir.

Tarasova said that many fermented milk products are made from foreign cultures in Russian enterprises – yogurts, ryazhenka, sour cream, cottage cheese, qatiq, acidophilus milk and others:

“Direct cultures are used for these products in modern industry. In the USSR, crops were grown in organic factories in Uglich, Omsk, Moscow. Milk factories had fermentation workshops – a large amount of culture was manually made from sterile milk in sterile conditions under the strict control of the Russian consumer rights watchdog. It was a separate production to restore and activate the dry crops to make a lot of crops.

Many fermented milk products are made from foreign cultures in Russian enterprises – yogurts, ryazhenka, sour cream, cottage cheese, qatiq, acidophilus milk and others. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

According to her, to restore this production to the scale of before, we need stores and microbiologists:

“Factories that have such stores have no problems today and will not have a theme when working with Russian dry crops.”

But companies that have completely turned to the use of foreign cultures will inevitably have difficulties if they disappear from the Russian market, she confirmed the version of the representative of one of the republican dairies voiced earlier.

“Foreign dry crops are direct crops. They are delivered in sterile packages, they are opened at the factory and immediately poured into a container where a fermented milk product is made.

No deficit, are there financial interests?

“There is no crop deficit, this category has not been sanctioned,” said Maria Zhebit, public relations director of the National Union of Milk Producers. “Suppliers are not leaving the Russian market. There is no reason to assume that there will be a shortage of fermented milk products.

According to her, this topic can actually be addressed for completely different reasons:

“We understand the logic: asking for support from Russian producers because the strong import component is evident here. Such an initiative was launched by the union as early as last week – to support them so that Russian companies can expand their production. It’s not bad to develop Russian production but you have to understand that this work is not done in a day. The suppliers we work with today have been in the market for decades, they are old players in this market. Also, you have to buy equipment, it’s not Russian today, while money, loans are traditionally more expensive here… It’s not easy to set up a new production, it’s easier to enlarge the one that already exists.

The representative of Soyuzmoloko confirmed that all local producers could receive “bonuses” from state support and clarified that today the Russian market has enough room for ambitious businessmen because only two of the many existing crop producers in the USSR remained: an experimental organic factory in Uglich and organic factory in Barnaul, as well as several small local factories.

“Less good” packaging, but sufficient for everyone

At the same time, Zhebit said that it has finally become possible to solve dairy packaging problems:

“There were problems with the supply of raw materials for its production, this has been resolved. However, a simpler and more affordable product for the consumer now remains a priority – for example, supplies of socially important categories such as the milk are given priority over juice or wine.Production of packaging continues in Tetrapak, Moscow Oblast.Shipments are made daily.

Earlier, the Russian milk union urged producers to switch to polymer packaging from SIBUR.

Maria Zhebit noted another problem – with paint for stamps on the packaging. Photo: Roman Khasayev

Also, Maria Zhebit noted another problem – with paint for stamps on the package:

“Consumers should not be confused with faint images on the packaging – this is not a sign of counterfeiting. There will be problems while new suppliers and logistical means are sought. But as soon as all the difficulties are past, the packaging will look the same.It should be borne in mind that when the income of the population drops, companies reconsider their assortment taking into account the demand of the population.

Inna Serova


Rose D. Jones