World production has been doubled, Russian production has been tripled, and as a result, over five years, black caviar has fallen in price twice. Apparently, caviar will continue to fall in price, and Russian production will grow, but Russian participation is almost imperceptible to the world market.
The Chinese have long become – and plan to remain – the world’s largest producers of black caviar, and the world’s largest farm, Yidu, which produces 40 tons per year, is located in the Chinese province of Hubei. In a few years, China intends to increase production more than threefold – up to 300 tons per year.
Iran struggles for the second place, pushing the USA back: in the coming years the country will produce 100 tons per year – large sturgeon farms are being built one after another, and a product that could not be produced or consumed in Iran before (since it is not halal) will flow to the massmarket.
A single kibuts in Israel, as a serious manufacturer, produces 6.5 tons of black caviar. More than a third of its product is consumed by business class passengers of Singapore Airlines.
As production is also increasing in the EU, USA and South America, very soon there will be 500 tons of caviar in the world – twice as much as they were released last year.
“Black caviar will never fall in price, it is very expensive to manufacture and the margin in this market is low,” says Ilya Shestakov, head of the Federal Fisheries Agency. The same assurances sound from foreign manufacturers. “Fish farms can easily satisfy the global demand for black caviar, and we can see it from the sharp increase in production all over the world. However, this technology is expensive, and in the foreseeable future the price will not be affordable for the masses,” says the doctor of aquaculture and associate professor at the faculty Fisheries University of Gilan (Iran) Bahram Falahatkar.
Indeed, after the ban on sturgeon fishing in the Caspian Sea, producers are forced to switch from a fishery to a more expensive method of caviar production in fisheries. Nevertheless, the current market leaders are successfully coping with the task of lowering production costs, such rapid growth already ensures a fall in prices, and in a couple of years, obviously, it will be possible to buy black caviar at the price of red, not Russian, but Chinese.
Wherever investors come to the black caviar market! Dozens of neophytes appear every year: it seems to everyone that black caviar is hundreds of percent of profit, but it turns out that the initial investment in the business is great, and the return is slow and not so big. Initial investments in the fish farm are highly estimated, and the first six to eight years are only sheer costs. Even the cans for packing black caviar are brought to Russia from Italy and France. Sturgeons in ponds begin to spawn only in the sixth year of life, which is twice as fast as in the wild, but still long for business. With this understanding, most neophytes turn off projects – sometimes without even starting production.
So, this year in the Kuban it was announced the freezing of the Kaviar Kuban project – two years ago the owners spoke of him as the future market leader. A group of pharmacy owners in Sochi undertook to build a fish factory in the Kuban village of Goryachy Klyuch for 2.5 billion rubles, designed to produce 10 tons of black caviar. But “having mastered their own funds” and not finding additional funding, the construction of the plant was suspended.
Old-timers also leave the market. The largest Russian producer and exporter of black caviar TD Russian Sturgeon in the past few years has lost its holdings in Russia and Germany and has become a regular seller of black caviar. Competitors of the Russian Sturgeon say that now the company is only engaged in the sale of products from third-party manufacturers, and not always Russian ones.
Sturgeon farming is both interesting and responsible, because it is dealing with living things, weather conditions and the state of natural resources. These are the things that determine the success of this business. It is important to be attentive to everything, from objective changes in the parameters of water or air to subjective sensations when it seems that something is going or may not be right. As for the difficulties, the high cost of ready-made sturgeon caviar can be attributed to this, because the fish “matures” for a long time – about 8 years and more, its feeding is not cheap, because quality sturgeon feed is produced in Europe.
There are also several sturgeon and sterlet farms and black caviar farms in Ukraine. In addition, more and more people are interested in growing sturgeon for themselves, in their own ponds, not expecting to become a caviar producer.
The worst competitor is the one outside the law. He does not follow the rules of production and trade, due to which the consumer has a misconception about the product. We hope that later counterfeit products in the form of counterfeit sturgeon caviar will disappear from the Ukrainian market, and illegally imported and low-quality caviar from China and Russia will disappear.
An honest market is consumer protection. The sooner the buyer becomes legible, knowledgeable and demanding, the sooner the black caviar market will be open and transparent.
There is also such a factor as the shadow market of sturgeon caviar. Unfortunately, the consumer is not demanding enough about the origin of the product, choosing the so-called “wild” caviar. Catching sturgeon is prohibited by law, so be aware that “wild” is poaching, non-compliance with sanitary and hygienic requirements in production, non-payment of taxes and complete lack of responsibility of the producer to the consumer. We constantly tell readers and consumers about the benefits of purchasing sturgeon caviar from producers who clearly call themselves responsible for the quality and safety of products.
The number of black caviar producers in Russia is growing, although not as fast as it could. In 2010, fisheries could be counted on the fingers of one hand, and they produced only 19 tons of caviar, now there are already several dozen of them. Most Russian households purchase feed in France and other European countries, fish are grown in special reservoirs under the supervision of specialists, and caviar is strictly divided into types – cheap milking, more expensive slaughter. Caviar of different types of sturgeon is not mixed and they write what kind of fish it was obtained from, because Beluga is valued higher than sturgeon. However, an increase in the number of players so far has led to only one result – a drop in prices.
The main factor in reducing prices is low demand. Having ceased to be the main producer of caviar, Russia ceased to be the main consumer. Now the main markets are the USA and the EU, now about half of all black caviar produced in the world is sold there.
During the USSR, 2 thousand tons of black caviar were produced (50 times more than now) and almost completely consumed in the country. Today, domestic consumption is only 32 tons (of which 8 tons are imported caviar). “All our hope is for the New Year, otherwise this year we will sell less than in the past, and it can lead to that we should be closed,” said one of the the large companies’representative. Manufacturers admit this extremely reluctantly, but by the New Year they are likely to be forced to lower their prices again.