Moscow drinks giant Ochakovo has launched a new non-alcoholic product targeted at Russia's growing health market, writes Angela Drujinina.
The new drink, Ochakovo brine, is produced from fermented natural vegetable juices and is claimed to have good health properties. Ochakovo believes that the product is unique within the alcohol-free beverage category.
To preserve the curative properties of the drink, Ochakovo consulted experts from the All-Russian Scientific and Research Institute of the Canned Food Industry to develop unique production technology. After the harvesting and initial processing of vegetables, which Ochakovo grows itself on its farm in the Moscow district, the raw material is crushed and pressed.
The juice is then poured into special reservoirs where it ferments for few days with special sour milk bacteria. During the fermentation process the vegetable juices are enriched with vitamins, amino acids and organic acids.
The product's taste has been compared to traditional homemade brines, which remain popular in the country. Indeed, the company went out of its way to adapt old Russian brine recipes to modern production techniques.
The Ochakovo brine contains cabbage and beet juices that are believed to contain curative properties. Cabbage juice also contains amino acids and potassium salts that help to rid the human body of unneeded fluids. Ochakovo claims that the product is also good for treating gastrointestinal diseases.
Beet juice is said to contain a lot of antoxidants, iron and iodine, which stimulate the activity of the thyroid gland and the liver.
Ochakovo intends to promote the new product through tasting and advertising drives at food outlets where it will be sold. The product will be available in Moscow and the Moscow district.
The company claims that the brine's shelf-life is three months from the date of production. The drink is bottled in a 0.33-litre aluminium can, and will retail in the city of Moscow for RUR17-19 ($1.60) per can.
By volume sales, Ochakovo is the leading brand in Russia's low-alcohol beverages market. According to Business Analytica, Ochakovo cocktails enjoyed a 16.24 per cent share of the Russian market at the beginning of September 2004.
In Moscow, where a quarter of all cocktails in Russia are sold, Ochakovo's market position is even stronger - 20.85 per cent. In the first nine months of 2004 Ochakovo sold 8.2 million decilitres of low-alcohol cocktails.
In 2005 the company plans to start production of premium cocktails because this particular segment of the market is currently demonstrating the fastest growth.