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Greenhouse vegetables: customer demand, expectations, and preferences

Agroinvestor magazine published an interview with Maria Butkina, the CEO of the Krugly God greenhouse complex. The facility is located in the Leningrad Oblast and is a part of the ECO-Culture Agro Holding Company, which bought the existing enterprise in 2017, having competently assessed its production potential.

Maria told the publisher about the demand for greenhouse products, the intelligibility of modern consumers, competition in the greenhouse industry, and further prospects for development.

According to the CEO, the Krugly God greenhouse complex, which was constructed in 2014, has managed to integrate very successfully into the structure of the country’s largest agro-industrial holding. ECO-Culture is known for its well-functioning management, clear understanding of the specific nature of production and the most effective greenhouse technologies in Russia.

Currently, the capacity of the complex is 6000 tons of output per year – 3 hectares of the plant area are allocated for cucumber greenhouses, 2 hectares for tomatoes, and 1 hectare for salads. The nearest plans of the enterprise include the construction of the 2nd stage of greenhouse facilities with a total capacity of 5.5 hectares, in which tomatoes and salads will be grown. The company’s products are already being shipped not only to the North-Western region but also to Moscow and the Moscow oblast.

During the conversation, the interviewer touched upon the issue of competition with foreign producers in the greenhouse sector. Maria Butkina noted that since the complex is a part of the largest agricultural holding in Russia, the company does not seem to experience any significant pressure from foreign agricultural companies. This is facilitated not only by the volume of production, but also by the quality of products – all vegetables offered by ECO-Culture are more environmentally friendly, more healthy, and even more tasty than imported products. In addition, the complex is producing exclusive hybrids of tomatoes and has almost no competitors in this market segment.

As for the consumer demand and preferences, people have recently become more discerning and demanding about quality of products. The customers prefer high-quality salad varieties and take interest in new crops of cucumbers and tomatoes. For example, the demand for Tatami pink cocktail tomatoes turned out to be unexpectedly high, so its production volume was increased. Meanwhile, gherkins cucumbers have shown no profit – apparently, the yields were too low for industrial greenhouse production.

Read the full text of the interview in the 8 November issue of Agroinvestor magazine.