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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fake Coffee No Instant Giveaway

If the label doesn't have an address, it costs under 25 rubles and it came from an outdoor market, then the coffee you just bought is unlikely to be 100 percent real, despite the claim on the package.

These are the findings of consumer watchdog magazine Spros and the Confederation of Consumer Societies, based on the results of an independent survey of the local instant coffee market released Thursday.

Of 30 brands submitted for laboratory testing, six failed to meet the chemical requirements of the government's tough, new instant coffee standards adopted at the start of the year.

The brands Majestic, Jacky, Globo, Traditional, Tainoye Zhelaniye (Secret Desire) and Mozart all failed the complex sugar tests required by the new standard.

All are produced in Brazil, none provide local contact addresses, all except Majestic come in powder form and all, according to Sergei Batkayev, head of the consumer protection department at the Anti-Monopoly Ministry, are guilty of unfair competition practices because they call themselves coffee.

"If they were labeled as a coffee drink then this would be acceptable," he said.

Coffee drinks contain coffee and supplementary ingredients -- often chicory, barley and cereals.

"The consumer should know it is not 100 percent coffee," said Alexei Popovichev, head of the Organization of Coffee Manufacturers in Russia. "It affects the image of the category -- the taste is completely different."

Two more brands -- Milagro Aroma and Grand, sold locally by Intercafe and the Grand Trade House, respectively -- qualified as instant coffee, but failed an organoleptic test.

With the exception of the dirty half-dozen, organizers were happy with the results of the survey.

"Evidently the instant coffee market has become more civilized compared to the situation five years ago," said Dmitry Yanin, chairman of the Confederation of Consumer Societies.

"At the same time the situation in the cheap, powdered coffee segment, particularly the quality of little-known producers' products, demands additional attention from consumer organizations and supervisory bodies."

"Today we can safely say that all the main coffee brands are represented on the domestic market," said Irena Vinogradova, editor of the Spros magazine. She added that compared to the domestic tea market, standards were far higher for coffee.

Some 85,000 metric tons of all coffee types was consumed in the country last year, according the Organization of Coffee Manufacturers.

The market made a swift recovery after the 1998 financial meltdown and has been growing at a rate of 12 percent to 14 percent over the past three years and is expected to continue to grow as more Russians move away from tea.

Russians drink an average of 160 cups of coffee a year, of which about 130 are instant. Europeans on average drink 700 cups of coffee a year.

Of the 173 instant coffee brands identified in Moscow in the course of the survey, 22 percent belong to Nestle, 12.1 percent to Kraft Foods and 5.8 percent to Moskovskaya Kofeinya na Paiyakh. Tchibo and Milagro each have 5.2 percent.