Where’s the Beef?

“But People Cannot, Excuse My Expression, Chow Down Normally”
The Russian government concludes beef too expensive for Russians
Irina Shcherbak
Znak
June 9, 2016

The Russian government argues that beef has become too expensive for Russians. These are the findings of an analytical report on the outcome of the produce embargo in 2015.

“Due to a shift in demand for cheaper produce, beef will taken on the characteristics of an expensive niche product, so massive support of this segment is inexpedient,” says the report.

The report likewise notes that the anti-sanctions have had no negative consequences. On the whole, however, “downward trends in the quality of consumption have been observed, including in response to the population’s falling real incomes.” This, the authors of the report argue, takes the shape of “switching to goods in a lower price segment.”

“The situation in the economy does not allow for a quick recovery of demand in produce markets, which will be accompanied both by a further shift in demand towards the cheaper segment in each segment [sic] and by a shift in demand from fish to meat, as well as the revival of significant subsistence production for personal consumption in the fruit and vegetable sectors,” says the report.

“We got up off our knees and have been threatening the west. We are in a confrontation with America, you see. We are paying for the restoration of Palmyra. 30% of the budget goes to defense spending. But people cannot, excuse my expression, chow down normally. In the next report, the government will probably recommend moving beef to the desserts and sweets section,” commented opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

Farewell, Beef Stroganoff?
Farewell, Beef Stroganoff? Image courtesy of Viator Things to Do: Russia

According to a recent study by the Analytical Rating Agency, consumers currently are showing a marked preference for bread, potatoes, and dairy products over vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood, and alcohol.

“In the future, a further shift in consumer preferences towards cereals, flour, oil, seasonal vegetables, and sugar is possible,” the analysts predicted.

The Russian food embargo was introduced in August 2014 in response to sanctions against Russia [sic] by western countries. A ban on the import of beef, pork, fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, and most dairy products from the US, the EU, Canada, Australia, and Norway was imposed. Subsequently, Russia has combated the re-export of banned European produce, introducing restrictions on imports from Belarus and Serbia. In addition, on May 1, 2015, the import of peanuts and, on May 26, 2015, live poultry from the US was banned.  On June 4, 2015, imports of canned fish from Latvia and Estonia were banned.

On June 24, 2015, Vladimir Putin signed a decree extending the food embargo until August 5, 2016.

Translated by the Russian Reader. Thanks to Valentin Urusov for the heads-up

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