Russian dairy: Packaging issues in the spotlight

08-07-2022 |
The Russian dairy industry has been experiencing a shortage of packaging since early April. Photo: Shutterstock
The Russian dairy industry has been experiencing a shortage of packaging since early April. Photo: Shutterstock

The Russian Union of dairy producers, Soyuzmoloko, has called on the authorities to establish a system of centralised distribution of cardboard among package producers, and embark on other measures to overcome packaging issues in the dairy industry.

Russian dairy companies also want government agencies to gather and publish statistics on Russian cardboard production per month.

Artem Belov, general director of Soyuzmoloko, explained that having information about the projected volumes of cardboard production would be easier for packaging manufacturers to plan their operations and negotiate with buyers.

“There have already been cases when the delivery of the agreed volumes of cardboard to packaging manufacturers failed,” Belov said.

On the other hand, this measure will only provide a partial solution to the existing problems, as Russian cardboard often fails to meet the dairy industry’s standards, Soyuzmoloko said.

Centralised distribution of packaging could help, according to Soyuzmoloko, though there is no information on how this system could look.

A shortage of packaging

The Russian dairy industry has been experiencing a shortage of packaging since early April when the European Union adopted sanctions, Russian newspaper, Kommersant, reported. The restrictions have impacted the Swedish packaging manufacturer, Tetra Pak, barring the way for imported raw materials to its Russian operations.

In early June, Tetra Pak asked the Swedish National Board of Trade to make an exception regarding the sanctions due to the social significance of the company’s products and allow shipments of some raw materials from Europe to Russia, but had no success, Kommersant reported.

Alexander Abalakov, general director of the Lambumiz, explained that the problem is mainly associated with a lack of laminated cardboard, 50% of which was supplied to Russia from Europe before the sanctions forced businesses to curtail shipments.

Alternative options

Russian cardboard is usually of insufficient quality and fails to meet producers’ requirements in terms of the product shelf life. Dairy companies are also limited in options of transferring to alternative packaging solutions, like plastic or glass, since it would require introducing major changes in the production process, the newspaper said.

Therefore, some dairy companies are looking for alternative suppliers in Southeast Asia, while others started phasing out products traditionally packed in cardboard, such as yoghurts.

Victoria Abramchenko, Russian deputy prime minister, said new production facilities are being established in Russia to replace imported packaging.

Soyuzmoloko has also asked the authorities to include packaging companies in the list of essential businesses, to approve soft loans for the import of package and raw materials, and zero import duties for packaging products subjected to Western sanctions.


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