Meat industry goes online in Russia

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Most Russians currently prefer to shop in-store, but there is a growth in online shopping
Most Russians currently prefer to shop in-store, but there is a growth in online shopping

Related tags Beef Russia Livestock Lamb Packaging equipment & materials Pork Poultry

Meat traders in Russia are exploring online operations, ushering in what experts claim is a new era of transparency for the sector and offering particular benefits to organic suppliers.

One St Petersburg-based store, under the brand Meat Farmstead, has launched an online shop, where customers can also watch high-resolution footage of meat being processed.

During the process, customers can choose and order cuts online. The project has been rated highly by experts and market participants.

This meat shop format with an online broadcast of the production processes is new for St Petersburg,” ​said Roman Stogov, commercial director of investment management company STEIT. “I am sure that such a creative approach by the owners will enable them to find regular customers.​”

Meat delivery plans

In future, there are plans for the system to be updated, with the ability to deliver products to customers’ doors. At the moment, buyers have to go to the store to collect their chosen products. In addition, cameras could be added to the carcase processing area.

According to representatives of the project, a transparent system of meat processing could be of interest to a large number of customers, especially given recent scandals involving the detection of low-quality meat products or meat with expired shelf-life dates.

People care about what they are eating, so we believe that, sooner or later, more and more residents in our city will know about us and realise that we are working for them,​” said Valery Maltsev, one of the owners of Meat Farmstead.

Low online shopping

The new online store is currently being trialled and, if successful, the owners plan to expand the project with similar stores in other cities.

So far, there are few such projects in Russia, as most customers do not tend to purchase food products on the internet. Meanwhile, experts suggest that there is growing interest in this type of sales channel for farms that produce organic meat products.

So far, there is one such project in the Republic of Buryatia, where, since 2014, a private farmer, Sogto Tsydypov, has had cameras installed at a feedlot and other production areas on his farms to prove that his beef is fully organic.

Rise of digital

The video shows where the cows are grazing, as well as the meat ​[production process],” said Tsydypov. “We do not use any chemical additives and growth promoters – only 100% natural feed materials. So our meat is juicy and succulent.​”

Industry observers believe there could be rise in the number of such projects in Russia in the next few years, as sanitary controls in the market remain weak and a significant number of customers tend to purchase healthy food.

The problem is that Russia has no organic certificates, despite the large number of customers willing to purchase organic meat,” ​said Russian agricultural analyst Eugene Gerden. “As the result, a large number of producers mark their products as organic, but in fact they would not be considered organic at all. They cannot even be fined for such practices.​”

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