Although the company, which specialises in starch production, has been present in the country for more than ten years, its sales activities had previously been represented by Rhodia. Now that it has seen its turnover grow rapidly and is satisfied with its present level of business, it has decided to take over the Russian sales side of its business. "The main strategy for Roquette is to be able to participate in the growth of a market in the full throes of reconstruction," said the company. "Roquette will be present locally to respond to customers' needs and to monitor probable market developments." The move indicates the company has identified a market potential in Russia for starches, polyols, dextrose and protein, in line with other ingredients. Roquette in RussiaRoquette claims to be one of the world's most advanced starch and starch derivatives business, and has created a Russian subsidiary called Roquette Rus on the back of current expansions it has witnessed in the Russian starch and derivatives market. Sergei Belov, sales manager for the Russian subsidiary, told FoodNavigator.com that overall sales grew by 40 per cent in 2007, and that the company expects sales to continue to increase in 2008, mainly because of more focus on its Russian venture. As well as strengthening its position in the Russian market, where it sells the entire range of its ingredient products, Roquette hopes to help local customers more by anticipating and satisfying their requirements. Belov said: "Our own subsidiary of Roquette will be closer to the final users of our products. Now we have full technical support from our headquarters in Lestrem and we have our own technical support manager." The company also said it hopes this business move will enable it to develop its business further in Russia and in the neighbouring countries that form the CIS (Community of Independent States). Roquette transforms four key crops - maize, wheat, pea and potatoes - into one ranges of products for the food, pharmaceutical and industrial sectors. It has 6,000 employees worldwide. The company provides maltodextrins for the baby food and meat processing industry, pea proteins - for dairy and meat, polyols and dextrose for confectionery, as well as soluble fibers and modified starches. Russia's expanding economy Russia's economy has been expanding at about 7 per cent a year and a growing middle class is looking for higher quality consumer goods. The packaged food market has increased in value from 1,258bn rubles (€39bn) in 2005 to 1,434bn rubles in 2006 (€39bn) and 1,602bn rubles (€43bn) in 2007. Roquette is one of many companies that have invested in Russia in recent years, with flavour company Symrise and confectioner Barry Callebaut expanding there. And it is not only ingredients firms that have seized on opportunities in Russia. Large multinational organisations such as Nestle and Cadbury have also recently set up facilities in Russia.