But, there are reasons to believe this ratio will favor more local production in the future.
In the view of Evgeny Kusnetsov of Praxis Ovo, Russia, reasons for this are:
- Increasing domestic consumption of liquid products,
- More interest in local production,
- Improved quality of domestic egg products,
- Rapid development of the food technology related to egg products,
- The manufacture of specialised products with complex recipes,
- Increased exports of liquid eggs to Europe where it would be pasteurised and packed or dried,
- Expanding domestic sales of liquid eggs, and
- The development of national support to Russia's agri-industrial sector.
Prior to the early 1990s, there was no commercial egg processing industry in Russia. There was some local production from cracked eggs but the products were of poor quality. The first modern, well-equipped plant was established in 1999.
As products appeared on the market, consumer attitudes started to change and a demand emerged for separate egg products for different sectors of the food industry.
"Today, egg products are well accepted and will increase in importance in the future, being used not only by the food industry but also in non-food industries such as the medicinal and pharmaceutical sectors," Kusnetsov said.
Mayonnaise Output Triples
Egg products account for about 10 percent of production. In the food sector, mayonnaise (containing 5 to 8 percent of whole egg powder and egg yolk powder) production had tripled since the 1990s, with consumption currently averaging 3kg/person/year, second only to the United States.
The biggest user is the confectionary sector, accounting for 90 percent of the egg product market. Nevertheless, he foresees significant growth in product usage for the production of macaroni, sausages, and ice cream.
Kusnetsov added that world experience has shown that Russia would have increased difficulties selling eggs in the shell in the not-too-distant future. But again, world data points to a possible minimum 20 percent of domestic egg output going for products. Currently, Russia's egg product production represents no more than 1 percent of global production.
Quality is Variable
While the quality of eggs throughout the European Union is more or less standard, in Russia it is widely variable and buyers cannot be assured that there are no residues of antibiotics, or pesticides. "This is why, if you wish to produce high quality egg products, it is better to build an integrated facility from feed production through to processing, where you have overall control of quality," he added. Several such projects had been built with a daily capacity of around two million eggs.
Standards are not always the same as elsewhere and he felt that these should be adjusted to be as close to world standards as possible.
In 1990 egg production stood at 47.5 billion, but it then went into decline to a "low" of 31.9 billion in 1996. It has since grown almost annually to reach an estimated 39.5 billion in 2007. A 20 percent increase is forecast to 2012 when output is expected to be in the region of 47.4 billion. In terms of egg consumption per person, the annual average is expected to rise to 340 by 2012 from a 2008 estimate of 286.