Russia takes Nestlé to court over GMO ingredient in breakfast cereal

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé's Bystrov porridge was found to contain GM papaya. Pic: Nestlé Russia
Nestlé's Bystrov porridge was found to contain GM papaya. Pic: Nestlé Russia

Related tags: Nestlé, Russia, Breakfast cereals, GMO, Lantmannen Unibake

Nestlé Russia has been accused of allegedly violating the country’s regulations covering a genetically modified ingredient.

Russia’s consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has filed an administrative violation case against the local business arm of the global food giant after finding genetically modified papaya not registered in the Russian Federation in its Bystrov instant cereals oatmeal porridge.

Rospotrebnadzor also alleged Nestlé knew about the non-compliance but did not inform the agency, which acts as the State authorized body implementing food safety regulations.

Article 37 of Russia’s Federal Law on technical regulation stipulates that 'manufacturers must inform the State control authority about any non-compliance within 10 days from the date of receipt of this information.’

Not properly registered by supplier

A spokesperson from Nestlé Russia told BakeryandSnacks the company does not use GMO ingredients in its products.

“One of Bistroff (Bystrov) instant porridge products with papaya and pineapple produced by Nestlé Russia was discovered to contain a GM line of papaya that has not been properly registered by our supplier.

“As soon as we became aware of the incidental GMO presence, we stopped the production of the concerned SKU, suspended product shipments and afterwards initiated product withdrawal from the trade.

“We are in dialogue with the relevant regulatory authorities and provide all required information on the matter.”

Nestlé Russia leadership

Nestlé Russia has enjoyed longstanding leadership of the country’s breakfast cereal sector, according to Euromonitor.

It is especially strong in RTE cereals – in particular in flakes with its Nestlé Gold and Nestlé Fitness brands, as well as in children’s breakfast cereals with Nesquik and Kosmostars – and leads the hot cereal subsector with its instant oat brand Bystrov.

The market researcher said the breakfast cereal sector is on the rise in Russia and further growth is predicted.

The segment was one of the few packaged food categories to steadily grow in retail volume and value terms during the country’s economic downturn in 2015 and 2016.

It is continuing its health growth, registering a 6.04% CAGR between 2012 to 2017 to reach a value of RUB 1.9bn, an increase of 5.13% over 2016.

Like elsewhere, changing breakfast habits is a major growth driver and Russians have developed a taste for Western dietary patterns.

Breakfast cereals have also become more affordable and consumers are economizing with these instead of more expensive goods from other categories: Assortment and product variety have boomed, fitting in with both the convenience, and health and wellness trends.

Whp's who in Russia's breakfast cereals?

  • Nestlé Russia leads in RTE cereals with Nestlé Gold and Nestlé Fitness in flakes and Nesquik and Kosmostars in children’s cereals
  • Kellogg Rus OOO ranks second in terms of value share both in children’s breakfast cereals and flakes
  • Positions of other brands in these categories are fairly weak
  • Private label’s share is low
  • Lantmännen Aksa OAO’s Axa drives the foreign brand category with double-digit value share
  • Nestlé’s instant oat brand Bystrov leads the hot cereal subsector

- Euromonitor

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