A study by KPMG shows that Russia is one of the most promising emerging markets for chocolate manufacturers.
According to the research, the Russian chocolate market – currently worth more than $8 billion – is in for rapid growth, estimated at 45 percent over the next three years, especially against the global trend of 2 percent annually. Experts agree that Russians tend to appreciate quality and increasingly buy handmade chocolates, while chocolatiers appear to be unprepared for such explosive growth.
The largest 100% Russian chocolate manufacturer is the United Confectioners holding (‘Obyedinennye Konditery’) incorporating such important Moscow facilities as “KK “Babaevsky” OJSC, “Krasny Oktyabr (Red October)” OJSC, and “Rot Front” OJSC.
The holding owns 19 confectionaries, holding a 13.2% share of the Russian market. Ranked at 14th place in global sales, it is locked in a bitter fight with foreign corporations who have gobbled other smaller factories by now.
The company is controlled by the Guta Group. Its co-owner Yury Gushchin is placed 98th among the wealthiest Russians, with a net worth of $950 million, according to Forbes.
Babaevsky confectionary concern
Babaevsky concern is the oldest confectionary factory in Russia. Its history dates back to 1804, when the Abrikosovs’ family manufactory was opened in Moscow. Being a serf, its founder Stepan Nikolaev was sent to Moscow by his landlady to start confectionary business and earned enough to buy manumission for himself and his family. The last name of the Abrikosovs (meaning apricot in English) was given to the family for delicious sweets made from fruit. The manufactory grew into a factory and in the 1880s became the biggest confectionary enterprise in Moscow.
In 1899 the Abrikosov and sons partnership was awarded the title of the purveyor to the royal household.
After the Revolution of 1917 the factory and all its facilities were nationalized and renamed as the National confectionary factory #2. In 1922 the name of Petr Babaev, the chairman of the district executive committee, was given to the factory.
Starting 1928 all Moscow confectionary factories had to specialize in only one type of products, therefore Babaevsky concern could no longer produce chocolate candies and was prescribed to make only hard candies. The factory regained its name of a chocolate manufacturer in 1944, at the end of the WWII, when industrial equipment from German enterprises was supplied to the concern.
Today Babaevsky Confectionary Concern produces a wide range of sweet products including such well-known chocolate candies as Squirrel and Bear in the North. Babaevsky chocolate goods have repeatedly won international contests and received favorable reports at exhibitions.
Krasny Oktyabr or Red October
Initially the factory was named Einem after one of its founders Teodore Ferdinand von Einem. In 1967 he and his partner started a factory on the bank of the Moskva River. Theodore Einem knew well tastes of Muscovites. Hard-boiled sweets, candies, chocolate, pastille, cookies, biscuits, gingerbread, glazed fruits were of high demand. The trade mark got to be so well-known, that Julius Heuss, who became the successor of Einem, left this name to his company.
Little by little Einem left the business and Heuss became the sole owner, but he did not change the name of the company, reasonably considering that there was no need to change the already known trade-mark. After the Revolution the factory received a new name of the First national Confectionary Factory, but the name of Einem was mentioned in brackets for several years.
Just in those years a lot of products «were born» which even today comprise the «golden» fund of «Red October»: in 1925 «Mishka Kosolapy» (Pigeon-Toed Bear) appeared, in 1927 - «Yuzhnaya Noch» (Southern Night); in 1936 - «Stratosphere» and «Souffle». In 1920s for the first time «Slivochnaya Pomadka s Tsukatom» (Cream fondant with candied fruit), «Slivochnaya Tianuchka» (Cream toffee), «Kis-Kis» (Puss-Puss) toffee appeared. These names and taste are familiar to many generations of the buyers.
Today the chocolate candies by Krasny Oktyabr are as tasty as they used to be 50 years ago and can make a surprising gift to relatives or friends.
Rot Front Factory
Rot Front Confectionary Factory was established in 1826 by the merchants Leonovs. At that time it was a small manufactory, which produced hard candies and fondant. Little by little the business developed and in 1990 it received a proud name the Leonovs’ Trading House. The growing volume of production went hand in hand with expanding assortment which then consisted of hard candies, chocolate, fondant and marmalade.
In 1917 being one of the biggest Moscow enterprises the factory employed about 1070 workers. In 1918 the factory was nationalized. Later, it was renamed after German Communist slogan Rot Front! (Red Front in English) as a sign of solidarity with German delegation, which visited the factory in 1931.
In 1971 Rot Front and Marat Moscow factory producing halvah and panned sweets merged to set up the Moscow Confectionary Concern Rot Front.
Currently Rot Front maintains its name of a Russian biggest chocolate manufacturer and works only with ecologically clean products to make its best candies and chocolate.
Chocolate Factory Rossiya
Located in the Russian city of Samara chocolate factory Rossiya is among the most popular Russian and European chocolate factories. It was built in 1970 and supplied Russian regions with candies and chocolate bars. After Perestroika the factory was privatized and went through hard times of the new incipient economy. The second chance to become a leading chocolate manufacturer was given to the factory in the 1990s, when Nestle started investing funds into Rossiya. Presently the factory produces dozens of various sweets.
Olga Pletneva (updated by Mikhail Vesely)