In a statement release in early March, the company revealed that investment in the project would amount to RUB2.2 billion (US$30m) and the plant, slated to be in operation by 2021, would have a production capacity of 70,000 tonnes (t) of various turkey meat products per year. The company has chosen to implement the project in Penza Oblast, in Russia’s European region, where Damate runs its poultry farms.
By separating production lines, the plant could manufacture kosher and halal meat products, as well as handling poultry for conventional slaughter, Damate said.
The new plant would manufacture both chilled and frozen turkey products, with equipment to produce tinned meat, canned meat, meat paste and so on. Damate plans to sell products from the new plant on the Russian market, as well as export them to Israel and the Middle East.
Damate signed an investment agreement with the Russian Government on the project during the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi in February, the company said. However, so far, no details have been released about the agreement and whether the company would be granted state aid. Elena Firsova, official spokesperson for Damate, had not provided any additional information to GlobalMeatNews by press time.
Kosher industry grows
Although, kosher food is now more widely produced in Russia, demand in this segment still far outstrips supply, according to Alexander Boroda, chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia. The number of companies engaged in manufacturing kosher food in Russia has increased from only three in 2007 to 250 in 2017, Boroda estimated.
For the past few years, Ramensky Meat Processing Plant has been the biggest kosher meat manufacturer in Russia. However, there is no information available on the overall sales of kosher meat in Russia in recent years.
Production of kosher meat has not been very popular among Russian meat companies, due to the difficulty of establishing a meat processing line that matches all the requirements of kashruth, according to Konstantin Korneev, senior analyst at Russian consulting agency Rickon Management.
For example, there has to be manual slaughtering at the plant, plus low-temperature scalding, and none of these processes can be automated, Korneev said.
In 2016, Russia’s deputy minister of agriculture Sergey Levin said Russia was interested in establishing meat exports to Israel. Levin explained that Russia had already been exporting a broad range of agricultural products, such as wheat, to the Israeli market, and establishing meat exports could be the next step.