Finnish dairy group Valio is re-entering Russia by launching a baby food brand in the country. 

“Our baby food is launched with the brand Valio Baby and Russia is the first market where we are launching this new baby food brand,” powders and baby food category manager Terhi Sinkko-Hynninen told just-food. 

The company’s export business to Russia – formerly Valio’s largest export market – was hit by the embargo placed on food products from the EU. The ban was put in place by Moscow in 2014 in retaliation for sanctions imposed by western countries including the US and EU over the crisis in the Ukraine

Infant formula is not included in trade restrictions, Valio noted. The company is therefore entering the infant formula category and will supply Russian customers with baby food produced using Finnish milk exports. 

Valio said that it believes its premium baby food offering will appeal to Russian consumers, who are already familiar with the Valio brand. The company added that the “majority” of Russian infant formula sales are European imports. 

Sinkko-Hynninen declined to comment on the company’s sales targets for the product. However, she revealed that the launch will target Russia’s largest cities. “The sales are starting first in St Petersburg region and Moscow will follow later this year,” she said. 

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By GlobalData