Valio began exporting its baby food range to Russia in October. The product range is made with Finnish milk. Baby food is not included in the Russian sanctions on groceries. The exports mean a return to Russia’s baby food market for Valio after a break of 15 years.
Valio used to export infant formula products to Russia under the Tutteli® brand up until the early 2000s. The infant formula products, made with Finnish milk, are returning to Russian shelves under the Valio Baby® brand.
“Russians see Valio as a manufacturer of high-quality dairy products. For them, Valio means reliability, purity and high quality, all of which are important qualities in baby foods”, says Valio’s category manager Terhi Sinkko-Hynninen.
Foreign baby food brands strong in Russia
In Russia, baby food is often sold in powdered form, whereas Finns are also used to ready-to-use baby meals. The first Valio Baby® products to be launched in Russia will also be of the powdered variety.
“Most of the baby food sold in Russia is imported from Europe. The market is highly competitive and large – over 30 times the size of the market in Finland. Our products have already reached shelves in the St. Petersburg area, and towards the end of the year, sales will begin in Moscow”, says Sinkko-Hynninen.
“We believe that high-quality baby food products are an interesting option for quality-conscious Russian consumers. Baby food products are, after all, a product category that we know to be a ‘slow burner’, as mothers are slow to change their brand loyalty.”
Demand for high quality
The Valio Baby® product family consists of three different products. Legislation places strict requirements on baby food in both Russia and the EU. There are requirements for both nutritional and microbiological quality. Valio Baby® products meet all the requirements and have passed a two-phase baby food registration process in Russia.
Valio Baby® products are made with Finnish milk at Valio’s Lapinlahti factory, which is a modern powdered food facility that was completed in 2014. It enables us to make high-quality powdered baby food.
Valio has a high level of expertise in making baby food. In Finland, it has been selling powdered products since the 1950s. Today, Valio sells baby food under two brands. The current product range was launched in 2012.
Valio’s Russian subsidiary is OOO Valio, which is responsible for product sales, marketing and distribution in Russia. Valio has a processed cheese factory in Odintsovo, near Moscow, where it manufactures Valio Viola® cheeses. Valio also packages hard cheeses in Russia and produces fresh products through subcontractors. Valio products are mostly sold in the largest Russian cities, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.