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Sergey Fomenkov: GOSTs and other criteria for assessing the agricultural product quality

Agro.ru website has published an article on the role of state standards for quality (GOSTs) when assessing the quality of agricultural products. Sergey Fomenkov, the Vice-President for Marketing and Development Strategy at ECO-Culture, was the invited expert.

In the article, the current situation with modern quality standards in Russia is considered as well as their influence on the customer’s opinion. The author claims GOSTs to be today’s fundamental criterion of evaluation, which any producer who wants to gain the loyalty and trust of the consumer should be guided by. However, in addition to GOSTs, the national standards of the Russian Quality System have been effective since 2015, providing for higher requirements for products. If a manufacturer complies with all the established standards, the product is awarded a Roskachestvo approval mark.

According to Sergey Fomenkov, the presence of both conventional and additional standards makes it difficult for customers to make an objective assessment of the product quality. Nevertheless, the company is planning to obtain an additional certificate for some types of products that will be put on sale in the nearest future. The general policy of ECO-Culture welcomes the attempts to establish transparent quality standards at the state level since as of now decent producers have to compete with the ones who offer lower quality but cheaper products that do not comply with GOSTs. At the same time, when making a choice in a store, customers are not always able to make an objective comparison of the products available. As a result, the price becomes the main factor influencing their decision. And a significant part of the consumers choose a lower-priced analog.

With the introduction of the new Roskachestvo system, it is not quite clear what exactly is going to happen to the usual GOSTs. Will their importance for the product quality assessment be reduced? Sergey Fomenkov believes that it will not. However, he fears that duality of quality parameters may confuse the consumer. Perhaps, it is necessary to refrain from the all-out additional certification of the product line offered by a company until the system wins the trust of customers.

In this regard, the Vice President of the APH suggests learning from the experience of the European Union countires which have special certification systems for safe organic products. In their case, certification falls under non-state organizations, which have already earned the trust of consumers. “ECO-Culture” holding is willing to further develop the production of organic greenhouse vegetables, as clean and useful as they can be.

The full version of the article is available on Agro.ru website.