Due to changes in consumers’ lifestyles, increased product ranges, and greater product availability, the development of retail chains has had a positive impact on sales of packaged food in Kazakhstan. There is a wide range of packaged food that is preferred more during hot seasons and a wide range that is preferred during cold seasons.
Due to the fact that the majority of consumers in Kazakhstan, CIS, and Asian countries have low and moderate disposable income, packaged food unit prices play a significant role in the purchasing process. Therefore, many manufacturers have started to offer interesting promotions and discounts that help consumers to save money.
In Kazakhstan, the old generation that is part of the post-Soviet culture is loyal to the country’s traditional and local food, which is mostly sold by domestic manufacturers and producers from CIS countries. Meanwhile, the young generation is more interested in Western products and ready meals, because such consumers are more open to new experiences and desire to save time in the cooking process.
Packaged food trends in CIS countries
Packaged food is one of the largest consumer markets in the CIS region. In the last decade, eating habits have changed significantly, due to fast-paced lifestyles, increasing product availability and the spread of modern retailing. A typical consumer in this region, who used to be loyal to traditional food products and local specialties, is becoming more interested in modern and convenient Western products than ever before. However, now consumers also face economic instability and shock price rises in many countries and have to make more rational choices in packaged food, trading down to traditional, standard, domestic and economy brands. Despite the current slowdown of consumer demand, the future outlook of packaged food sales remains positive. There are many categories that have considerable room for future growth. Baby food, ready meals, dairy, processed fruit and vegetables, breakfast cereals, sauces and dressings, and sweet and savory snacks are amongst the most dynamic categories, benefiting from product and packaging innovations and growing consumer interest.
An increasing number of consumers are now choosing packaged food rather than unpackaged alternatives. Volume consumption of packaged food per capita in the region is still lower than in Western European markets, but it is steadily growing: 19% in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, 13% in Kazakhstan, 6% in Russia, and 12% in Georgia over 2010-2015. One exception is Belarus, which saw a decline of 3% in volume per capita consumption over the last five years, as the market has suffered heavily from local currency devaluation and seen extreme price increases for imported products. The expanded presence of modern grocery retailers is creating demand for packaged food that is more convenient in storage, easy to consume and fuels demand by new product and packaging developments.
Uzbekistani consumers increasingly opt for packaged food variants as health concerns and the belief that packaged products are cleaner and healthier. Kazakhstan is characterized by growing demand for on-the-go snacking and fast meal preparation, as well as the growing popularity of internet grocery retailing in big cities. Georgian buyers are becoming more demanding as to what they eat and look for packaged food that provides information on ingredients, nutrition and expiration date. While packaged food has a widening prevalence across the region, some categories are still dominated by artisanal and generic products, particularly, staples such as bread, pastries, and cheese.
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