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The quality of the food in Russia

Date: Thursday, December 04 @ 17:28:47 MST
Topic: Russia

About a quarter of Russians (26%) believe that over the last two or three years, the quality of the food their families eat has improved, while half as many people (13%) say their families' nutrition has become worse. Most, however, have not noticed any changes (58%).

Respondents who have noted changes were asked to explain what the changes are. Those who noted improvements mentioned an increased variety of foods (14%), specific food items that became more accessible to them in the past two or three years (8%) such as fruits, juices, meat, milk, dairy products, fish and seafood, and vegetables. Another 2% spoke about improvements in their financial situation which allowed them to make less limited grocery purchases (5%) or better quality foods (3%).

Those who said their diet has worsened usually mention that money is tight (7%), say that they buy less meat, fruit, milk, dairy, fish, etc. (3%), while 1% of the respondents say food quality in general has worsened.

Overall, 52% of the respondents are satisfied with the quality of foods that they buy for everyday consumption (59% in megacities and 57% in large cities), while 44% are not (53% of the elderly).

Russians show more of a consensus on changes in the prices for food: 79% of the respondents (84% in rural areas) say prices are growing in their town or village and that their budget is suffering as a result (87% with monthly incomes lower than 2,000 rubles per family member, and 74% with family members who earn more than 4,000 rubles).

Another 11% say that although food is becoming more expensive, the higher prices are not affecting their budget. Only 3% say food is not more expensive in their area.

Respondents were asked what food items have become the most expensive. Meat and meat products were mentioned most frequently (52%), followed by milk and dairy products (32%), bread (28%), fish (14%), sugar (14%), and fruit (10%). Vegetables, salt, eggs, flour, and pasta were all mentioned by fewer than 10% of the respondents.

Most respondents (52%) think that both domestic and imported foods are getting more expensive at about the same rate (60% in Moscow, and 62% in rural areas), 25% noticed a faster rate of price growth for domestic foods (25% in megacities and 36% in large cities), and only 3% say imported foods are becoming more expensive faster.

Note that 45% of the respondents say that over the past two or three years, the quantity of domestic products has increased in their village or town. Only 13% hold the opposite view, say that nothing has changed (29%), or are unable to answer the question.

Three questions were asked to compare the Russian diet today with the Soviet diet about 20 years ago. Most Russians eat better today according to 24% of the respondents (31% in Moscow and 36% in large cities); 39% believe today's diet is worse, 13% said it was «roughly the same quality,» and 23% were unable to answer the question.

Fifty percent of respondents (56% in Moscow) feel that the quality of today's foods is lower than it used to be, more often by the older generation (65% of those over 55). Only 18% think that food quality is higher today (31% in large cities), and 12% say «roughly the same quality.»

Meanwhile, 79% are certain that food has become more abundant in stores (92% in Moscow, 85% in large cities), while 6% believe there is as much food as before, and 2% think there is less food now.

Those who believe there is more food today were asked to explain why: 24% mentioned increased food production, including from private entrepreneurs, 4% ascribe it to increased competition, and 4% say there are now more food stores, and more rarely (2%) respondents said that overall consumption has increased.

A significant share of the answers mention factors other then the improved quality of Russian foods: 22% say there are now more imported foods, 10% say food is not more abundant but that there are fewer buyers, and people have low purchasing power. Another explanation is that there are more low-quality or couterfeited products (4%). Some people think that there is more food in stores today because many products are no longer exported.

Information from:eLigne Russian Commercial Agency

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