Secret recipe for Russia

Almost 90% of Russians consider that quality of the imported goods goes down as the industry moves to Russia. 

Market analysts of major transnational corporations that work on the Russian consumer market tend to agree on this issue more and more often. Officially however they do accept the decrease of consumer loyalty towards licensed goods, while referring to some sort of “the Russian consumer myth.” According to them, the recipe and the ingredients of licensed and original imported goods are absolutely identical.

Today, almost all world leaders that manufacture consumer goods for day-to-day use such as foodstuffs, cosmetics, perfumes, household items are anxious about settling down on the promising Russian market. However, in times of severe competition a corporation needs not only to develop various advertising campaigns in order to popularize the brand among Russians, but also to transfer production itself to Russia. This is where the mysterious transformation takes place. Up until recently, magnificent chocolate, fragrant coffee, cigarettes with delicious slightly bitter taste of famous foreign brands all of a sudden begin to loose all their splendid characteristics. Russians however continue to purchase cigarette cartons and coffee packs in Duty-free stores.

In the meantime, manufacturers of licensed goods are certain that the quality is under control; they speak of unified standards, special employee-training programs. “Not a single company can allow for the quality of its goods to drop due to today’s rough competition,” states Sergey Dukhanov, managing director of perfume and cosmetic association of product manufacturers. “In addition, large companies care too much about their reputation, their brand; that is why they adhere to strict quality standards, which remain regardless of the location of their manufacturing plants, be it Russia, Europe or Africa…”

Vice –president of International confederation of consumer society Dmitry Yanin fully agrees with the statement. “In my opinion, this is a mere Russian myth and it is incorrect to assume that our products are worse than analogues products abroad,” says Yanin. “The emergence of such myth has to do with Russian mentality, since we have always preferred foreign brands to ours. Secondly, it all depends on consumer-specific needs. Prior to moving an industry to Russia all companies conduct special researches to determine consumer needs. This enables the companies to adjust to local preferences…”

“Worsening of quality of products once the industry has been transferred to our – is not a myth. It’s a fact,” objects bran-manager of an American transnational corporation that focuses on the production of foodstuffs. “As soon as our corporation opened its industrial facilities in Russia to produce chocolate, we immediately changed the recipe. The company simply wanted to lower production costs. Thing is, in Europe we use special formula. Basically, the formula can be changed. In Switzerland, for instance, our chocolate produced on local production facilities is more expensive than the same one produced anyplace else. In Russia, the situation is quite the opposite. While cocoa prices for instance keep rising, a company cannot raise the end product prices; otherwise it will loose in sales. That is why there is no other way but to “lighten” the recipe and production. In actuality, consumer should not be able to feel the difference. However, in the end, the difference appears to be significant. When we first tasted chocolate samples produced here in Russia, they differed tremendously from the ones made in Europe. Those were essentially two different products with the same brand.”

It seems that no matter how hard Russian market attempts to become like European, we seem to be unable to adapt to the Western standards. And foreigners have gotten used to that. 

Maria Solovichenko