Wednesday 17 September
After a long but pleasant train journey, we arrived in St Petersburg at 11.30pm. The hotel was only a small distance away and, unlike Moscow, the city was not busy after sunset. In the morning we had a pleasant introduction to the market by the MD of Octava, a distributor based in St Petersburg.
I realised that the dynamics of the city’s market were very different to those of Moscow, as were the eating habits. We then went to see a few stores, including Land, which was a premium-end store, a bit like a citycentre Waitrose. Well laid-out, with an unusual mix of products, including open pick-and-mix frozen vegetables.
Although there were no Indian products within any of the retailers we visited (except a few Rajah brand products), with Russians’ increasing wages, international food is filtering into the market and consumers are getting to know about different non-European cuisines. Opportunities for premium-end Indian foods are low at the moment but will soon grow and develop, due to the Russians' varied palates.
After all our store visits, FFB had organised a boat lunch, meandering through the many rivers of St Petersburg, under many of the colourful bridges, admiring the spectacles of the varied and majestic architecture. Unlike Moscow this was a very different city, steeped in historical memories, and a lot of regal character, which was enthusiastically imparted by our tour guide (thanks FFB, made it a very enjoyable journey around the city!).
With some canapés and some premium Russian Vodka, everyone ended the TDV with pleasant memories and eyes of opportunity for a market opening up to the rest of the food world.
Read part one
Read part three