- Title: Skirting sanctions, Italian firm sells mozzarella made in Russia
- Date: 26th May 2017
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (MAY 25, 2017) (REUTERS) SHOP ASSISTANT IN FRONT OF WINE SECTION IN STORE WINE BARREL SHOP ASSISTANT POURING WINE SIGN / MEAT ON SHELF MEAT ON SHELF VARIOUS OF FISH ON SALE EATALY FOUNDER, OSCAR FARINETTI, SPEAKING TO GUESTS OF OPENING (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) EATALY FOUNDER, OSCAR FARINETTI, SAYING (ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL TRANSLATION): "The opening of Eataly is considered a step in overcoming the embargo that exists now between Russia and western world. And Eataly is an ambassador in this process." VARIOUS OF PASTA ON SHELVES FARINETTI WATCHING PIZZA BEING COOKED VARIOUS OF PIZZA BEING MADE VARIOUS OF DRINKS BEING POURED (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) EATALY'S RUSSIA PARTNER, YURI TETROV, SAYING: "When the embargo was introduced everyone was confused where to go. But as you know Italian products is very popular in Russia. If we talk about the entire world the biggest consumers of Italian products is America with Russia being number two. Of course America comes after Italy." VARIOUS OF CHEESE ON SALE (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) EATALY'S RUSSIA PARTNER, YURI TETROV, SAYING: "It was hard, very hard. Our team have been searching for these products and ingredients in Russia for two-and-a-half or three years. And we found them. And I can say that the quality of these products is very high." WINE ON SHELF (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) EATALY'S RUSSIA PARTNER, YURI TETROV, SAYING: "There is such a saying: when it collapses be the first to build. And when it is already under construction it is hard to step in as it is already underway. Now it is a good time to make business in Russia. I call on to all businessmen to invest in Russia and do business here." STARTERS BEING COOKED 'LA CUCINE DI EATALY' SIGN (SOUNDBITE) (English) EATALY FOUNDER, OSCAR FARINETTI, SAYING: "When it will be possible to import parmeggiano reggiano, gorgonzola, grana padano, I will be very very very happy. Now it is impossible. And we invented this formula." VARIOUS OF PRODUCTS ON DISPLAY (SOUNDBITE) (English) EATALY FOUNDER, OSCAR FARINETTI, SAYING: "But I don't understand why it is not possible to import parmigiano reggiano, but it is possible to import pancetta, it is possible to import coppa, it is possible to import many charcuterie, it is possible to import wine, olive oil, pasta, tomato. It is incredible! Ok, we adapt." VARIOUS OF PRODUCTS ON SALE
- Embargoed: 9th June 2017 13:55
- Keywords: parmesan italian cheese sanctions food store shop Italy Russia
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA0016IH54QH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Businessman Oscar Farinetti wanted to bring his chain of Italian delicatessens, Eataly, to Moscow but there was an obstacle. Sanctions stopped him importing such cornerstones of Italian cuisine as mozzarella and parmesan.
The company and its local partner then came up with a different plan: "Okay, we adapt," Farinetti said at the opening of the Moscow outlet on Thursday (May 25), describing the thought processes that brought the firm to its new approach.
Unable to import cheese from Italy, Farinetti and his local partner embarked on the painstaking process of trying to produce it instead inside Russia -- a country not acclaimed for its Mediterranean cuisine.
It was not easy. "Our team have been searching for these products and ingredients in Russia for two-and-a-half or three years. And we found them. And I can say that the quality of these products is very high," Yuri Tetrov, Eataly's Russian partner, told Reuters.
The Moscow outlet, by size second only to Eataly's Rome branch, now sells a range of Italian-style cheeses, including mozzarella, burrata and stracciatella, that are made in its outlet from locally-sourced ingredients.
However, parmesan and gorgonzola are not on sale. They are among the many Italian specialities that have protected brands, to block foreign producers from making imitations of these delicacies outside Italy.
The experience of Eataly shows that, despite sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine and fraught relations between Moscow and the Kremlin, western investors are keen to get a slice of the Russian market, especially as the economy starts to recover from a two-year recession.
The sanctions have meant that doing business as usual has been challenging, forcing firms to find ingenious ways around the obstacles. Among other things, that has meant developing supply chains to replace the products that for decades were imported from Europe.
To supply the cheese for Eataly, two Russian farmers now ship their fresh raw milk daily to a production facility, which includes a lab, a creamery and a ripening room, in the Eataly store in Moscow.
He said he would be pleased when the market reopens for Italian-made gorgonzola and parmesan, if and when sanctions are lifted.
"But I don't understand why it is not possible to import parmigiano reggiano, but it is possible to import pancetta, it is possible to import coppa, it is possible to import many charcuterie, it is possible to import wine, olive oil, pasta, tomato," Farinetti told Reuters.
Eataly Moscow also sells Swiss-made cheese it imports directly from producers in Switzerland -- not covered by the sanctions -- as well as some Russian-made substitutes. Most fish is from North Africa although a small portion is of Russian origin.
The outlet occupies an entire floor on 7,500 square metres in a mall close to the city centre. Its eight restaurants and cafes and 11 take-away corners and bars are able to host more than 900 guests at a time. There is a bakery, a brewery, and an ice-cream manufacturing facility.
Tetrov said almost 93 percent of the 6,000 products on the shelves were Italian imports, including pork cold cuts, pasta, canned tomatoes, pastry and wines. Those items are not covered by Russia's import ban, which mainly applies to fresh meat and vegetables and dairy products.
Tetrov plans to open at least one more, smaller, Eataly outlet in the Russian capital and is looking to expand to St Petersburg and other big cities.
Eataly, partly owned by Italian merchant bank Tamburi Investment Partners, currently has 38 stores worldwide.
"There is such a saying: when it collapses be the first to build. And when it is already under construction it is hard to step in as it is already underway. Now it is a good time to make business in Russia," said Tetrov.
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