Russia Will Become Most Important Export Market for Finnish Food Company Valio

Finnish company Valio, which specialises in dairy products, has significantly increased exports to Russia. Piia Kontunen, the firm's press secretary, told Rosbalt's correspondent that in 2002 the company exported 40 thousand tonnes of products to Russia - 25% of the company's total exports. This was an increase 4.6 tonnes in Valio's exports to Russia in comparison to 2001. The company's subsidiary Valio St. Petersburg, the only exporter of Valio products to Russia, has become one of the leading food companies operating on the Russian market.

Valio's leading dairy products on the Russian market are butter, and matured and processed cheeses. In Moscow Valio butter accounts for 30% of the market, and its Oltermanni cheese has 13% of the market. Both products lead the field in their product category. The Viola brand of processed cheese has a 32% share of the Russian market.

Veijo Merilainen, Valio's export manager, believes that Russia will become the company's most important sales market. He predicts that demand in Russia will greatly exceed the capacity of domestic producers, so the proportion of imported goods on the market will be very significant. According to its development strategy, in the future Valio plans to strengthen its sales position in terms of dairy products that are already well known to Russian consumers, and to introduce health products onto the market.

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