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Moscow's particular taste in sauces

15-Jun-2004

Russian market research company Market Advice has conducted an extensive study into sauce preferences in the country's capital. The study reveals that mayonnaise remains a firm number one, with leading condiment maker Unilever maintaining the top slot . But as Moscow is considered to be a 'special market territory', the results also reveal that the region's urban population has its own distinct tastes.

Market Advice carried out what it described as 'exhaustive' interviewing on the streets of Moscow in the period April to May, with all respondents being existing mayonnaise buyers. The agency emphasizes that the study is not representative of the whole of Russia due to the fact that Moscow has pockets of extreme wealth and more advanced consumer spending habits. The researchers interviewed 600 men and women above the age of 16 who were asked about their knowledge of brands, the influence advertising has on purchases, points of purchase and ingredients preferences.

As is the case elsewhere in Russia, mayonnaise is still a firm favourite, with Unilever's Calve brand specified by one third of respondents as the number one choice. Further to that 12 per cent voted the mayonnaise brand Sloboda, marketed by new domestic food giant Efko, as the number two favourite, followed by brands from Baltimore and Moscow Fat Combine. This trend is quite contrary to the Russian market as a whole, where the Baltimore company is a dominant player in the sauces market, pipping rival Unilever into second place.

The Russian market for sauces is unusual in Europe in that it is the only place in Europe where ketchup is not a clear leader. Mayonnaise is a clear favourite amongst the population, being used both as a condiment as well as in a number of popular dishes.

According to data from Leatherhead International, Russia is by far the largest market for sauces in eastern Europe, currently producing around 683,100 tonnes each year, with an estimated market value of €1.4 billion. Leatherhead's figures also reveal that the breakdown of sauce types reveals that mayonnaise is the market leader with a 39 per cent volume share. Ketchup is a close contestant with a 37 per volume share, followed by cooking sauces with 11 per cent, mustard with 8 per cent, variety sauces with 4 per cent and salad dressings with 1 per cent.

Specific to mayonnaise consumption in the Moscow area, Market Advice's research revealed that packaging is also a significant consideration, with a marked preference for larger jar sizes (500 grams+). Approximately one third of respondents said that they preferred to buy big jars with special occasions in mind, while 25 per cent opted for big jars for family meals.

A further 16 per cent said that pricing was a major concern for mayonnaise, whilst a further 14 per cent said that a long shelf life was also a major consideration when making a purchase. But the survey revealed that the biggest issue was quality, with some 60 per cent of respondents stating that that was the most important issue.

The survey also revealed another interesting statistic, considered to be particular to the Moscow market - the fact that 55 per cent of respondents cited sour cream as being the next best alternative to mayonnaise, which beat ketchup into third place with 19 per cent. Otherwise some 17 per cent of respondents specified vegetable oil, 5 per cent favoured traditional Caucasian sauces, 3 per cent soya sauce, and 1 per cent said yoghurt was the next best option to mayonnaise.

Market Advice said that respondents answered a total of 35 comprehensive questions, ascertaining trends in the consumption of sauces for the Moscow metropolitan region.

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