September 01, 2000

Food Notes

b The Center for People’s Nutrition organized an unusual charity event at Svyato-Danilov monastery in Moscow this summer (above). On Peter & Paul Day the center created a 50 meter long kulebyaka pie filled with fruit and vegetables. It took 300 kg of flour to bake the monster pie, but less than an hour to divvy it up among the hungry attendees.

b New Russian chocolate maker Korkunov is positioning itself as a premium chocolatier and will launch a line of handmade chocolates in September, according to a report in Vedomosti. To that end, the company has invested $1.2 mn in two new production lines and will increase the staff at its Odintsovo (Moscow region) factory from 80 to 140 employees. Each chocolate will cost $1 – currently the price of half a box of chocolates from other companies. Factory manager Andrei Korkunov says such chocolates were in great demand before the revolution, before automated production processes “rolled over” the candy industry. Every part of the chocolates’ production will be done manually, from cooking the filling, to raising the chocolate “walls” and placing them in special “nests” in their boxes. “No one has produced truly expensive chocolate here [in Russia],” Korkunov said. But such premium products are in high demand in every other country — like Switzerland or Belgium, for instance.”

b Wimm-Bill-Dann, Russia’s largest dairy producer,  is planning to expand its empire into other European countries, company Chairman David Yakobashvili told Reuters. Wimm-Bill-Dann cultivated a foreign image when it was established eight years ago (hence its foreign-sounding name). Back then a foreign name helped products sell better. Now, the Russian company accounts for one third of the Russian juice and dairy market and is considering an initial public offering. According to Reuters, Wimm-Bill-Dann is also planning to issue American Depository Receipts. The company posted a $35 million net profit in 1999 and expects the figure to raise to $41.4 million this year. One of Wimm-Bill-Dann’s juice brands, Wonderberry, is sold in the Benelux countries and Israel, with Germany and France to follow this year.

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