Articles by Dina Vishnya



Retail Market Making For Strange Bedfellows

Increased competition is forcing Russian retailers to enter into the most unexpected of unions.

Bliny Brand Starts Food Fight

Frozen-food maker Talosto is now fighting in the St. Petersburg and Leningrad region arbitration court with the FSZ company for the right to use the Maslenitsa name.

Krasny Oktyabr Sued Over Label

Candy giant Krasny Oktyabr is being sued for 4 million rubles ($143,087) by a woman who claims that the company improperly used her likeness on its Alenka chocolate bars.

Yimpas Plans $100M St. Pete Hypermarket

Turkish retail giant Yimpas plans to invest more than $100 million of its own funds to create a St. Petersburg-based mall network over the next two years.

St. Pete Hotels 8th-Priciest in World

St. Petersburg has entered the top 10 in a survey of cities with the world's most expensive hotels while Moscow has dropped from 4th to 17th place in the last year.

Coffee Standards to Be Drawn

Manufacturers sneaking chicory, acorns and caramel into their coffees will soon be exposed. Anything that isnТt simply ground coffee beans will be labeled as a ""coffee drink."" ST. PETERSBURG Ч Manufacturers sneaking chicory, acorns and caramel into their low-quality coffees are soon to be publicly exposed. They will be required to label their products as ""coffee drinks"" once a new state standard for instant and natural coffee is introduced. The new standard is being lobbied by the recently established Organization of Coffee Manufacturers in Russia, which includes Kraft Foods, Tchibo, Montana Coffee, Paulig and Douwe Egberts, which produces Moccona brand coffee. Generic and low-grade coffee control about 30 percent of the coffee market, said a representative with a major coffee firm. A significant number of these products do not meet international standards and by the same token, the proposed state standard. Annual retail sales of coffee comprise between $600 million and $1 billion in Russia, according to various assessments. The Grand trading house assesses the instant coffee market at 60,000 metric tons with a wholesale turnover of $800 million per year. According to international standards, the word ""coffee"" means a dry product mixed with water and made exclusively from coffee grains. ""Russian standards differ radically from those accepted internationally,"" said Jennifer Galencamp, director for foreign corporate affairs with Nestl?. The Russian standard is stopping larger firms from pushing their comparatively expensive caffeine-free coffee on the domestic market. Douwe Egberts, Kraft Foods, Tchibo and Montana Coffee all offer caffeine-free products. ""The current state standard is based on antiquated criteria and determines the quality of a product in terms of the caffeine and the sugar it contains,"" Galencamp said. ""Under this standard, caffeine-free coffee made from high quality beans is not coffee. Coffee drinks that at best are made from chicory and at worst from production leftovers Ч from shells or grain Ч are formally known as coffee."" Mysore Gold and companies with less memorable names that make coffee by ""the clientТs recipe"" Ч always for Russia and always somewhere overseas Ч fall within the low-quality category, the more well-known manufacturers say. According to major players in the coffee market, once the standard has been finalized a large portion of low-grade brands will be relegated to the coffee-drink category and marked accordingly. ""Because of the muddle over the standard,"" said Alexei Melnikov, head of Douwe Egberts in Russia, ""manufacturers of natural coffee lose their potential consumers, who, by purchasing so-called Сreal Brazilian coffeeТ and realizing that it is a poor-quality product lose faith in the big brands through association."" Melnikov said international manufacturers of the brands for the mass market, such as Nestl? and Kraft Foods, are the first to be affected. The price-sensitive consumer chooses coffees of dubious brands because they are 5 rubles to 10 rubles cheaper. Rostest-Moscow is working on the state standard for coffee and is bringing it in line with international standards. This process could take several months, an employee with the State Standards Agency said. /small/2000_10/2000_10_17/17cofe1.jpg /large/2000_10/2000_10_17/17cofe2.jpg 76 06 YES Anything that isnТt simply ground coffee beans will be labeled as a ""coffee drink.""

Forced Out of Moscow, Fakes Flourish in Regions

Counterfeit coffee and tea makers masquerading their products as name brands lost ground in the capital over the last six months, market participants say. Law enforcement bodies and industry leaders have banded together to push out the fakes. The pirates have, however, moved out into the regions. Tea and coffee manufacturers maintain their best defense lies in expensive and sophisticated packaging. Ultimately, the consumer may have to foot the bill for the struggle with counterfeiters. Manufactures only start to take on pirates when illegal sales volumes increase, as they were a year ago. At the time 13 companies, including major coffee manufacturers Nestl?, Kraft Foods and Tchibo as well Lipton tea producers Unilever, formed the informal BPG brand protection group. The members of the group lost $473 million last year, according to research conducted by Deloitte & Touche CIS.

Kinder Surprise Awaits Chocolate Egg Market

Local confectioner Landrin plans to tap the Soviet Union's cartoon legacy and release a home-grown version of the Kinder Surprise novelty chocolate eggs that contain a toy.

Detergent Maker Tries to Boost Sales

Henkel Russia, manufacturer of Losk laundry detergent, has launched an aggressive advertising campaign.

Big Business Hits the Beach in St. Pete

Glut, Cheap Imports Hit Rice Industry

Sponsors See Ice Hockey Worlds as Hot Ticket

Kraft Plans To Build Coffee Plant In St. Pete