The coronavirus pandemic and European sanctions have not harmed the development of confectionery production in Russia
New suppliers from China and other countries have appeared, and ingredients have learned to import substitution. Marina Romanova, the founder of Rosemarycake, a pastry chef, told the editorial board of "Made in Russia" about the challenges of the current time and how to start a "sweet business" from scratch.
-How has the economic situation affected the activities of Russian confectioners: have there been difficulties in finding ingredients? What is happening with the demand for author's confectionery pastries now?
As for demand, nothing has changed. He was, and remains. We did not notice a decrease either during the pandemic or now. Taste preferences change, but not because of the economic situation, but because of the change of seasons. People's habits are different at one time or another of the year.
Summer is the season of weddings, so we had no end of orders. No one from my colleagues complains either. You can't really talk to any pastry chef, because everything is at work.
If we talk about the difficulty of finding ingredients, then at the very beginning there was a kind of panic, because prices for familiar ingredients soared overnight. Importers were afraid that they would not be able to order at a similar price in the future, and tried to sell what they had purchased, already more expensive.
But it didn't last long, and positions that had become expensive or inaccessible mainly due to logistics were replaced. New players have appeared on the market, which we simply did not pay attention to before, because there was no need.
When our usual products either disappeared or became noticeably expensive, we turned our attention to other manufacturers and suppliers.
Now I can say that there are enough ingredients, and even in some positions we have a more attractive offer.
- In principle, what ingredients and materials for making desserts were imported from other countries?
Well, of course, it's coffee, chocolate, various thickeners. A very well—known German brand, the Soso company, has left the market. Everyone loved their thickeners, they were always one of the most expensive and were considered the best. But they are not the only ones on the market. There are many excellent alternatives now.
In my opinion, today the Russian market in confectionery is not experiencing a shortage in anything. We have recently received a lot of products from China, neighboring countries and other places. The main confectionery ingredients that are imported are chocolate, coffee, all kinds of thickeners, vanilla. It's all on the market or represented by other companies.
- Are there any difficulties with the confectionery equipment?
Yes. There are some difficulties here, but again, the main units, such as stoves, copying machines, dough mixers, planetary mixers, in general, the main equipment — kitchen, including confectionery is made in Russia and in good quality.
The German company "Rational" was very popular, and it left the market, but again, this is a matter of comfort. We got used to working with him, we liked everything, we didn't want to change anything, but when the company was gone, nothing terrible happened. The only place where there is some experience now is the maintenance of equipment that no longer exists and that may break down. But with spare parts, it's still somehow simpler, somehow imported. So far I have not heard about the ah situations about the equipment. We have almost all the machines in the workshop of Russian production, so we are not worried.
-Have there been new trends in the field of confectionery production over the past year or two? As a rule, different industries reflect what is happening in the world.
It can be noted that now there is a confident trend for the use of local products, for local identity. Therefore, it can be called a new trend not only in confectionery, but also in cooking in general.
- Can Marina share tips for novice pastry entrepreneurs: what does this path consist of? Is it expensive to start such a business from scratch, and how to do it? Is it expensive? How to promote your products and personal brand? How to stand out from the rest, where to get inspiration?
The main advice I can give is to decide what you want to do. Build a clear, consistent plan of action to achieve the goal. By and large, now there are all the resources for this. It is possible to launch confectionery production in the same way as it was a year and six months ago. In addition, we are now helping aspiring entrepreneurs to create confectionery from scratch and do it for quite reasonable money. We have such a proposal: if a person has a desire to invest 3 million rubles in the confectionery business, then we can help him open a confectionery shop that will bring him an income of 300 thousand rubles a month. We have a proven algorithm, we have not yet packaged this franchise or any other product. Now we individually help those who contact us.
- How has the way of launching its confectionery production changed now in the face of sanctions?
The process of launching confectionery production has not changed in any way. Because the principles of building a business have remained the same. I repeat, only our usual suppliers have changed, but if we talk about the market of equipment, ingredients, and demand, nothing has changed.
In my opinion, the demand will grow even now, because we are limited in movement. If earlier our target audience periodically dispersed to other states, now everyone stays here. For example, if we compare this season with the previous one, then the financial indicators in my company are higher.
- Is the Russian confectionery market different from the markets of other countries? If so, what is the specifics in our country?
Yes, of course, it is different and even very different. In our country, the consumer is only getting used to the correct prioritization, revising his values.
Abroad, especially in Europe, there has always been a confident trend for quality. There is a clear desire to get quality products, and people are willing to pay for them. In Russia, they only come to this. Now they have begun to understand what they eat, where they buy it, and think about what they make it out of. And they already prefer not just some cheapest product, but choose based on other values and principles.
-Has the number of participants in Marina's online confectionery school increased?
There are fewer students, but this is more due to the fact that we use Instagram (a social network banned in the territory of the Russian Federation), and the main traffic of students was mainly from there.
Now the situation is leveled at the expense of Yandex-direct, but at first we observed a decrease in the number of participants, plus Instagram, apparently, does not show Russian pages abroad. We used to have much more Russian-speaking students from other countries, now there are fewer of them.
- Has the interaction with the restaurant business changed in the new sanctions conditions? Maybe they started ordering less, or vice versa? Which restaurants and cafes does Rosemarycakes cooperate with today?
Restaurateurs began to delve more thoroughly into the economy. Many people come to the conclusion that it is not always more profitable to do something in the walls of your restaurant than to buy a quality product somewhere. Especially the one that is not the main one. Now we notice an increased interest from restaurants in our confectionery factory-kitchen.
- What unusual desserts did Marina develop, and what inspired her to these ideas?
- What unusual desserts are in development now?
For example, newfangled desserts for beer. They were successfully tested at the festival in St. Petersburg, everything went fine, if we talk about something unusual. Now we are working on a regional order in the city of Kemerovo and are developing a line of cakes for one administration project. There will be a lot of cakes made from Siberian products: larch marmalade, juniper confit in the composition and many more interesting things. I think we will announce it soon.