Russian market may be on the rebound

13 Feb 2017

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There is confidence in Russia about the year that has just begun: following a difficult period, dominated by political tensions, a drop in the oil price and a weak rouble, experts are now working on the assumption that the domestic economy will be moving out of recession. The World Bank is forecasting economic growth in Russia for 2017 too. Western companies are anticipating an upswing and see this as confirmation of their policy of maintaining their business contacts in crisis years as well. Developments in major consumption segments are leading to growing demand in the production of plastics and rubber products as well as packaging.

Substantial attention and media coverage was achieved by the official launch of the SAVE FOOD initiative on the Russian market during the Upakovka trade fair. The Russian office of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), headed by Eugenia Serova, had invited senior officials from ministries and industry to look at issues of food losses and waste in Russia and to present solutions. Several companies that operate on the Russian market, including the Metro retail group, the Rus food bank, the agricultural group Olam and LavkaLavka, a co-operative of small and medium-sized Russian agricultural enterprises, had already expressed interest in the SAVE FOOD initiative during the run-up to upakovka. It has been estimated that up to around 25 per cent of all manufactured food is not consumed in Russia. Although this value is below the worldwide average of one third, it is still far too high.

When developing and organizing special thematic areas for upakovka, the Moscow trade fair organizers benefited from Messe Düsseldorf’s expertise, which the latter had bundled for all events in the packaging industry and the related processing industry under the label of the interpack alliance. Bernd Jablonowski, Global Portfolio Director of Processing & Packaging, is pleased about the success of the premières: “The two special thematic areas innovationparc and SAVE FOOD met with a large number of positive responses. Together with the convincing presentations of our exhibitors, they ensured a substantial increase in the number of trade visitors, despite a difficult competitive environment. This meant we clearly underpinned the importance of upakovka as a leading event in the industry. Working with our partners in industry, we will continue to do our utmost in presenting market-focused, forward-looking content to Russian trade visitors. upakovka 2018, for instance, will be dedicated, among other things, to the theme of Industry 4.0.”

The most important suppliers to Russian enterprises continue to be German manufacturers of food and packaging machinery. Vera Fritsche from the food processing and packaging machinery association within VDMA (the German Machinery & Plant Manufacturers’ Association) expresses cautious optimism about the current situation: “German engineering is still in demand. This was also reflected at this year’s upakovka. Russia’s food production keeps expanding, and Russian and international companies are continually investing in the development and expansion of local production capacities. After a fairly long lean period Russia’s demand for German-made food and packaging machinery picked up somewhat in 2016. During the first 11 months of 2016 Russia imported food and packaging machines from Germany valuing EUR 304 million, nearly 8 per cent more than in the same period of the previous year. German companies are more confident again. Quite a few of them concluded business deals at the trade fair, and many are expecting positive developments and follow-up business.”

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