Oleg Radin, President of the Roskrakhmalpatoka Association of Russian Producers of Starch and Treacle Products.
The segment of potato starch currently occupies a small share in the structure of the starch production industry.
The volume of the Russian market for potato starch is estimated at 28 thousand tons and 70% is provided by imports.
In 2018, 10 tons of potato starch were produced in Russia, which is 727 tons less than a year earlier, and 96 tons more than in 1351. Against the background of changes that have affected, for example, the sphere of production of wheat starch, these fluctuations can be called insignificant. In part, they are related to the fact that a large volume of Russian potato starch is produced by micro-enterprises - individual entrepreneurs (especially for products for the confectionery and bakery segments), which quickly appear and just as quickly disappear.
The stability of the market is also confirmed by other statistics. In particular, in 2018, 18,0 thousand tons of potato starch were imported to the Russian Federation (the main suppliers: Belarus, Denmark, France, Germany and Poland), almost at the same level, supplies were carried out in previous years (18,1 thousand tons). tons in 2017 and 16,4 thousand tons in 2016). Export volumes in recent years have also not changed significantly: in 2018 - 1,3 thousand tons, in 2017 and 2016 - 1,5 and 1,1 thousand tons, respectively.
Traditionally, native potato starch in Russia has a relatively constant niche in the food raw material market. In the production of what types of goods is it mainly used? What are the requirements for it by consumers? And what is the future for this product? To get relevant answers to all these questions, the Roskrakhmalpatoka Association conducted a survey in which 34 companies took part - enterprises of the meat, confectionery, food concentrate, bakery industries - large consumers of native potato starch. Among the respondents, one can note, for example, LLC Russkart, a manufacturer of snack products (the volume of consumption of native potato starch is 240-250 tons / month); OJSC Tsaritsyno, a company for the production of sausages and meat products (the volume of consumption of native potato starch is 100 tons / month); meat-packing plant "Dubki" (volume of consumption of native potato starch - 60 tons / month).
The survey showed that the stable position of potato starch is primarily provided by the meat processing industry. It is this type of starch that is used by manufacturers in the preparation of boiled sausages and hams, other meat products (starch is used as an inexpensive type of stabilizer and is included in the recipe for 65-70% of product names) and sauces (included in the recipe for 10-15% of product names). In addition, native potato starch is widely used in confectionery production - it is a necessary ingredient for cakes, muffins, and other baked goods (10-15% of product names). It is also difficult to do without potato starch in the production of food concentrates (jelly, spices, seasonings, soups), confectionery mixtures (creams, additives, fillings), noodles (5-10% of product names).
Manufacturers of products choose the more expensive (compared to corn and wheat) potato starch mainly because of its better viscosity and transparency.
We also note that the majority of survey participants (85%) do not plan to abandon the use of potato starch in the future. Only two respondents predict the probability of abandoning this ingredient in case of a change in the product formulation, and only one is going to replace the native starch with the modified one in the near future (since modification at a lower price has better viscosity properties).
Interestingly, almost half of the respondents (15 consumers) use domestic potato starch in their work. At the same time, only 9 survey participants were able to list the names of Russian enterprises specializing in the production of potato starch. Most often mentioned were the Pleshcheyev Starch Plant, Chuvashyenkrakhal and Mglinsky Starch Plant.
15 participants also responded to the proposal to characterize the products of domestic manufacturers. In general, the collective response can be formulated as: "Everyone has approximately the same good quality and low price."
The main criterion that affects the choice of products of certain domestic producers of potato starch, consumers called the best ratio of “quality / price”. Next in terms of importance were the terms of delivery and terms of payment.
In turn, out of 34 respondents, 29 confidently listed the main foreign producers of potato starch. Most of all mentions were made by KMC, Pepees, Roquette, Cargill.
In a survey of consumers of foreign potato starch, everyone attributed the price and quality of the product to the main selection criteria, the delivery terms came in third. Also for many consumers a significant role is played by the availability of certificates of conformity for the goods.
The key reasons for the stagnation of the potato starch market were many survey participants called the general weakness of the economy and the slowdown / absence of growth in food production against this background.
Continuing this thought, it can be assumed that in the medium term, in the absence of serious economic shocks, the potato starch market will remain at a more or less stable level and, most likely, even upward trends will appear due to the expansion of consumption spheres. Possible development prospects, according to our observations, are mainly associated with two branches of the food industry - sausage and dairy. At the same time, the former should become the main driver of demand due to the largest market capacity, and the role of the latter will depend on a number of factors: first of all, on consumer demand.
In an unstable economy, demand may begin to develop, for example, in the direction of curd and sour cream products (fillings for the confectionery industry). Here, native potato starch is often used as a partial replacement for expensive dairy raw materials.
We emphasize that in both segments - in the production of sausage and dairy products - native potato starch is used in order to reduce the cost of the final product, which is a fundamental trend in the crisis economy.
In other economic circumstances, the scenario will naturally develop differently. It is possible, for example, that potato starch will be in high demand in the production of healthy foods.