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Exports of EU dairy produce to Russia could show strong growth this year, according DairyReporter.com citing a report from the Irish Food Board Bord BIA.

A spokesperson for Bord BIA’s Moscow office told DairyReporter.com: “Russia is a very promising market for EU dairy produce as it is a net importer of dairy produce and imported dairy products have a very solid reputation in the Russian market.”

Russian production is restricted by a lack of equipment and processing facilities for dairy produce. Also producers in the provinces do not have adequate supply chain mechanisms to deliver their produce to cities, the report added.

In 2009, the EU exported 67,000 tonnes of processed cheese, 63,000t (tonnes) of Gouda, 45,000t of Edam, 31,000t of Cheddar, 13,000t of Blue Vein cheese, and 11,000t of Brie/Camembert.

Further rises in EU exports are likely reflecting a sharp reduction in recent months of cheese imports from Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania, the report said.

Eastern European imports have been replaced with supplies from Germany and Austria – particularly gouda and edam.

“As Russia relies heavily on cheese imports, buyers are likely to look to other European suppliers to meet demand,” the report said.

In addition to cheese, EU butter exports to Russia are also increasing. Last year, Russia was the EU’s biggest butter importer accounting for 19,000t. Barinova refers to trade sources predicting that the figure for the first quarter of this year is likely to be higher than the same period of 2009.

Other key exporters to this market are Belarus, New Zealand and Finland.

Russian dairy consumption has risen due to increased consumer spending power, increased consumption of imported dairy products, greater brand recognition of imported dairy products and positive attitudes toward dairy products being an important part of a healthy diet, the report said.

Currently 40% of EU cheese exports go to Russia and the US.

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