Goodbye Embargo: Russia opens the door for Sports Nutrition!

13th October 2015

In response to Western economic sanctions for the annexation of Crimea the Russian Federation decreed a ban on agricultural products and food stuffs from the EU, US, Norway, Canada and Australia on 6th August 2014 for a period of one year, although now extended until August 2016. However, exemptions where granted for some food products including nutritional supplements but this did not include ’Sports nutrition products’. 

According to the latest Euromonitor figures, the sports nutrition market in Russia grew by almost 14% in 2014 to reach a record high of €45 million. Sales of protein powders are expected to grow by 39.5% in 2013/2018. However, the growing demand for more convenient formats will drive the growth of ready to drink protein product by 72.7% over the same period. With the ban on dairy products early indications suggested downward pressure on EU whey prices of 7.7% due to oversupply issues as 22% of all EU whey production is exported to Russia. With such growth previously projected prior to the ban the timelines for restoration on the free movement of goods to Russia from European and US markets have been a significant concern. Similarly, many sports nutrition companies have been confused over just what products are exempt from the ban. 

In Russia there are 2 product categories applicable to athletes 1. Specialised food products for sportsmen and, 2. Biologically active food supplements. 

Following the 2014 retaliatory food embargo - sports nutrition companies may have been able to import some nutritional supplements such as biologically active food supplements, vitamins and minerals, dietary fibre and some other products, however "specialised food products for sportsmen” could not. Because such products cannot be replicated by similar Russian produced products the Russian Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has on the 16 of September signed and put into effect a decree (№ 778) to allow the import of “specialised food products for sportsmen.”

This news will be a big relief for many in the sports nutrition industry and hopefully will result in the continued growth and supply of sports nutrition products into and across the Russian Federation. 

1. Euromonitor International. Country reports: Sports Nutrition in Russia. July 2015

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