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New Economy New Food Habits?

by 5m Editor
5 April 2006, at 1:00am

NORWAY - What has happened to the food habits in Russia since the transition from planned economy to market economy? Are the consumers choosing other and new foods, or are they buying the same as before?

New economy new food habits? - NORWAY - What has happened to the food habits in Russia since the transition from planned economy to market economy? Are the consumers choosing other and new foods, or are they buying the same as before?


Photo: Frank Gregersen, Fiskeriforskning.
These are some of the questions for which scientists at Fiskeriforskning are going to find answers in coming years. And the focus for the studies is one of the most traditional types of food in Russia, namely herring.

Large herring exports to Russia

Herring comprises 80 percent of the seafood that is exported to the Russian market, with Norwegian seafood exports to Russia totalling almost 4 BNOK in 2005.

"Herring has a very strong tradition in the Russian population, but we do not know whether in the long term they will vote it out to the benefit of other foods when they have steadily more options from which to choose", says Scientist Gril Voldnes.

"In fact, very little research has been done at all on the food habits of Russian consumers", says Voldnes.

Some of the most recent work that has been done in this area are analyses that Scientist Pirjo Honkanen at Fiskeriforskning conducted in the period 1997 to 1999 about attitudes towards and preferences for Norwegian herring in Eastern Europe.

Changed food habits?

An important factor will be how the food habits of Russian youth develop. They are the future seafood consumers, and if they eventually choose other foods than herring, this will have consequences for Norwegian seafood exports.

"It is possible that in the future, we will have to focus on other areas of use for herring in order for it to retain its market position in Russia", says Voldnes.

"Today, the Russians use a lot of herring as snacks in social contexts, but perhaps we have to think anew in the coming years", she says in closing.

In the autumn of 2006, the scientists will interview between 15 and 20 Russian women of different ages in Moscow about which food habits they have, and whether these habits have changed. In the spring of 2007, there will be a larger study of the food habits of consumers in Moscow and in another large Russian city.

The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway and will be complete in 2008.

Contact persons:

Scientist Gril Voldnes, direct telephone: (+47) 77 62 91 18.

Scientist Pirjo Honkanen, direct telephone: (+47) 77 62 90 37.

Source: Fiskeriforskning - 3rd April 2006

5m Editor