Sergey Sevryukov is an unusual entrepreneur. A banker who went into agriculture and became the “main freezer” in the Urals.
A businessman who refuses to buy cheap raw materials in China and wants him to have more competitors. Director of the company, which is based in a village near Yekaterinburg and trades in the country and abroad.
Before contacting the processing and freezing of vegetables, Sergey Sevryukov worked in banks for seventeen years. He was deputy chairman, director of a branch of a federal credit organization. For four years he led his own projects: he helped to attract investment for companies, gave financial advice.
He became interested in healthy eating when a baby was born. He began to pay attention to what the family eats.
- I remember lying in the hospital with my eldest daughter, fed mashed potatoes. The translucent food was like glass and was sugaryly sweet. The potatoes froze when stored or transported. Part, it seems, was taken home, and what was left was diluted with water, ”Sergey recalls. - We were lucky: my wife brought food from home. Those patients, to whom no one came, ate what they gave.
The banker decided to understand the topic, studied the technology of processing vegetables. “Obtained,” as he himself says, with his projects, the regional ministry of agriculture and the consumer market. He proposed to obtain modified starch from potatoes.
“They don't like freezing - it's hard to steal”
In 2016, Sevryukov was invited as an investment auditor to the Ural Berries company, which processed, frozen and sold vegetables and berries. Production in Istok was idle, people were not paid salaries for two months, equipment was dismantled for debts. The owners wanted to check how they spend money, to understand what they are doing wrong and whether the company has prospects. Sergey understood: there are prospects.
- Abroad, 85–90% of the vegetable market is frozen. Fresh - 10-15%. In Russia, the opposite. The growth opportunities are huge. Soon, the freezing industry will turn the vegetable market upside down, as home refrigerators turned the meat market, ”the businessman explains. - Freezing is more convenient, easier, more profitable. Take an orange. What proportion does the peel occupy? Ten percent? No, forty. Also with vegetables. If the potatoes are fresh, when peeling 20% of the crop goes to waste. In April, when potatoes are flabby, sprouted, rotten, they throw out 50–70%. Calculate how much money you throw out. Frozen vegetables are more expensive, but completely go into business. For this they are not liked in the canteens: it is difficult to write off and put into circulation.
Photo: Grigory Postnikov, 66.RU
|Sergey worked in finance for 17 years before he was hooked on agriculture.|
Sergey appreciated the prospects and decided: this is his chance. Sam took up the company. Two months later, he became a co-owner, invested his own funds, and received a subsidy for modernization and loans at a reduced rate in the regional enterprise support fund. In 2018, with the support of SOPPP, he issued an investment loan of 10 million rubles. I was not afraid of competition.
- There are five such enterprises in the country. We need - 20 per region, ”says Sergey. - You need to think not about how to pick up a client and survive each other from the market, but how to expand and cooperate. And the more we will be, the better.
“We were checked as if rocket fuel spilled”
Not without force majeure. In December 2017, due to a thirty-degree frost, the pipe froze and burst.
- There was so much noise, as if spilled not water, but rocket fuel. Whoever comes from Rospotrebnadzor to the prosecutor’s office, ”recalls Sergey. - A year and a half checked the documents, equipment, wastewater, waste. The last piece of paper that production is in order, environmentally friendly and meets sanitary standards, was received this summer.
Today in the factory, which is already called ZAMOROZKA.PRO, they produce 80 kinds of semi-finished products: potatoes and peas, blackberries and plums, porcini mushrooms and honey mushrooms, 14 varieties of mixes. Berries and mushrooms are purchased in collective gardens, agricultural cooperatives. They themselves plant potatoes, in 2018 they opened a mushroom nursery. The regions for the procurement of raw materials are expanding: they are buying in the Urals, Siberia, the Kuban, Central Asia, and abroad - in Egypt, Iran, Serbia. In November, frozen mangoes from Egypt were brought for testing.
Photo: Grigory Postnikov, 66.RU
|Soon the first batch of potatoes will go to Uzbekistan.|
“Much can be bought cheaply in China,” Sergei admits. - But when he saw what they were offering there, he refused. An egg-sized blackberry. Not a berry - a mutant. What chemistry did she grow up on? How to feed these people?
“When they offered to trade for export, we laughed for a long time”
At a factory in Istok vegetables are peeled, cut, if necessary, poured with boiling water or steam, frozen. Waste-free production: purifications are given to the feed mill. When carrots or beets are put on the line, local farmers line up to pick up the waste. This is a favorite treat for piglets.
Sets of berries and vegetables are taken to schools, kindergartens, hospitals, restaurants. Part networks are sold directly to retail chains, part - through large companies, and they sell the Urals freeze in their own packaging. Wagons and wagons with dry ice disperse in the region, go to neighboring regions, to northern fields, to Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg.
They also try to trade with foreign countries. The idea appeared in April 2018. Sevryukova was offered to work for export at a meeting in the regional ministry of agriculture and the consumer market. When he returned from the meeting, he gathered people and talked about the proposal. Together they laughed at a fantastic idea. Where is Europe, Asia and where are they - a small business in a village near Yekaterinburg?
“In Europe, our berries are a delicacy”
It turned out there is nothing fantastic. there is international frozen food market with endless sales opportunities. National projects helped him out “International cooperation and export”, “Small and medium enterprises and support of individual entrepreneurial initiative”.
Today Sevryukov works with Export Support Center at the Regional Enterprise Support Fund. Regional organization helped register for free on the Alibaba portal - such an AliExpress for entrepreneurs. Here ZAMOROZKA.PRO is the only Russian company for the processing and freezing of vegetables.
- International online trading platforms appeared in the fund support tools at the beginning of the year. They created a single showcase of the Ural enterprises on the Alibaba website - here exporters, under conditions of state support, can test the sale of their goods. So you can evaluate the interest of buyers in their product, track the map of requests for countries and regions, adjust your production to customer requests. For entrepreneurs it’s free, - tells the deputy director of SOFPP Valery Pilichev. - The fund helps to create individual company accounts on the online platforms Europages.com, All biz.ru, DTAD, Satu.kz and others. This is also done under state support. On average, the cost of creating one account is from 100 to 450 thousand rubles per year.
They also offer other help: travel to exhibitions and foreign business missions together, translate into other languages and promote the site, issue certificates for international trade. Sergey attended the Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan: Promising Markets for Business forum, received advice on trade barriers in Romania and Israel, participated in seminars on working on the Alibaba portal and on the basics of export trade.
There is experience: sea buckthorn, cranberries, and porcini mushrooms were brought to Poland and Germany through the subsidiaries of European enterprises. Torn off with hands. Here the trucks went empty, and it turned out to be unprofitable. In November 2019, a new contract was concluded: frozen and packaged potatoes will be brought to Uzbekistan, and broccoli for processing will be returned. Partners are also sought in other countries.
Photo: Grigory Postnikov, 66.RU
|When Sevryukov came to the enterprise, the employees were not paid a salary for two months, the equipment was dismantled.|
- There is a demand - in South Africa, China, Korea, Southeast Asia. While it is not possible to close it, there is not enough capacity, ”the businessman admits. - They will appear when we open the plant in Novouralsk.
“The new plant will be 10 times larger”
In the former Sverdlovsk-44 Sevryukov wants to open an enterprise ten times more than in Istok - an area of ten thousand square meters, for 370 employees. The main production will move here, they will produce mixes, single products, ready meals: vegetables with sausage or cutlet in plastic or aluminum dishes, from which they eat on the plane. A small series and a logistics center will remain in Istok.
By increasing the production and cheap energy of the local thermal power station, Sergey expects to reduce the cost of freezing by a quarter. New technologies will also help: they will master lyophilization, as in Europe. Vegetables will be processed using technology that preserves blood plasma at donor points: frozen and dried in a pressure chamber. In a vacuum, water escapes from cells; there are almost no ice crystals left inside that break the walls. During lyophilization, 1–5% of cells die, with rapid freezing - 10–15%, with normal, in the refrigerator - 60–70%. Transporting and storing such vegetables is cheaper: they are lighter and take up less space.
Fruits want to douse with steam from the CHP. A steam-thermal treatment will help to clean vegetables faster and reduce waste: the peel will turn into a “uniform” that can be easily removed. Sevryukov received technical conditions from power engineers, contacted companies that produce steam-thermal equipment. Turks and Poles are still thinking, the Irish refused because the Novouralsk thermal power plant produces superheated steam - with high temperature and low pressure.
Photo: Grigory Postnikov, 66.RU
|When the plant in Novouralsk is launched, export and retail will begin to develop. So far, 99% of production is taken by wholesalers.|
- Met with the Irish in October at an exhibition in the Moscow Expocenter, talked. They experimented for ten years to reduce purification from eight to six percent. When superheated steam is supplied, the waste again grows to eight. This categorically does not suit them, ”says the Ural businessman. - I didn’t upset: to say that 60% of raw materials can be thrown out during cleaning.
“We must work in the Urals, and not flee to Moscow”
When the plant in Novouralsk is launched, they will begin to develop retail. Vending machines will be delivered in Yekaterinburg, where they will sell frozen vegetables. While the finished product is not enough, 99% are taken by wholesalers.
They wanted to build the plant in 2019. We selected a site, made a project, agreed with the administration, and began to register the status of a resident of the territory of the advanced development Novouralsk. They did not take into account one thing: the city is closed. Here is the world's largest uranium enrichment plant. Reconciliation dragged on. Connected "Rosatom", the FSB. They check it as if they would not peel potatoes at the plant, but make an atomic bomb, Sergey jokes.
The answer to Sevryukov should be given before the end of the year. If everything worked out, the plant will work in November 2020. Initially, 30–40% of capacity, then more. When asked if he’s going to move to the capital after expansion, he shakes his head:
- What for? We need to work here in the Urals. Yekaterinburg is a successful logistics center. If you want - bring goods to Europe, if you want - to Asia. And Moscow, as soon as it sees prospects, will come by itself. And she herself will bring contacts, offers, money ...
A source: https://66.ru/