For the last ten years soy production in Russia has increased from 554 thousand tons in 2004 to 2.6 million tons in 2014. Still, Russia is not self-sufficient in this crop. In 2014, Russia imported 2 million tons of soybeans mainly from Brazil and Uruguay. By 2020 it is estimated that Russia will produce up to 7 million tons of soybeans.
Currently, 95% of soybeans grown in Russia are used for animal feeds and only 5% are used for food purposes to make soy milk products, meat substitutes and meat extenders. There are plans in Russia to increase production of soy meat and milk products such as soy isolates, soy concentrates, textured soy proteins, soy milk and so on.
The main driver for increased soy consumption in Russia is the rapidly growing poultry industry, swine production and aquaculture. According to local statistics agency overall meat production in January-September of 2015 compared to same time period last year has increased by 14.2%.
Until recently, local companies from the Far East of Russia have been the major players in soybean production market. However, the situation is changing as large agro holding companies in this country are entering this risky but lucrative market. This is risky because of climatic conditions in different parts of the country, but at the same time lucrative due to high ROI. We are seeing that more and more soybeans are grown in Central parts of Russia such as Belgorod, Brynsk and Kursk regions. Southern Russia is also increasing the soy production in regions like Krasnodar and Stavropol.
Most of the soy processed in Russia uses conventional solvent chemical technology. Customers in Russia process soy for their own use but there also a few that are successfully processing beans for commercial purposes and this number is constantly growing. The main reason businesses are investing in extrusion technology is the high quality end product, durability and reliability of equipment, proven technology and quality control. One of the most important factors is also a chemical free process as consumers all over the world are becoming more sensitive to what they eat. Therefore, food companies are looking for alternatives to solvent technology.
As of today, one of the major meat producers and food processors in Russia is using extrusion for processing soybeans which is fed to poultry and animal husbandry. We are seeing this trend to be on the rise worldwide where key players in different meat production segments are using mechanical technology to process soy.