25 Apr 2011

Refreshing Kvas - traditional Russian summer soft drink

According to market research, soft drinks are one of the most growing and promising segments in Russia. Kvas is a promising niche product that is extremely popular among Russians and Russian speaking audiences (very popular in Ukraine, Poland too). The traditional Russian drink kvas, made from rye bread, is considered to be a safe and healthy product. Some kvas even contain vitamins.
Some Kvas drinks do not contain alcohol but usually it contains a small % of alcohol similar to kefir (see link). You can drink it when thirsty or make an 'okroshka soup' - summer cold soup (other kvas recipes here, see link). 
During the USSR times, kvas was usually was sold on the streets via a yellow tank trailer by small/medium and large glass, see picture. These days you can buy kvas from any retail store in a bottle or a can. Some bars and cafes also offer kvas and kvas based summer dishes.

For the last several years kvas in Russia became a more and more popular drink. The reason behind kvas' popularity is that it is a natural product. Nowadays, there are more than 200 kvas producing companies in Russia.
These kvas brands - 'Blagodei', 'Nicola', 'Ochakovsky', 'Pershin', Stepan Razin' have 60% of the market share in the category 'cities Russia' (see link). On a hot summer day, in a city of more than a million citizens, from the retail stores people sell 50 ton of kvas drink every day. The  market share for kvas among other soft drinks has grown from 4% to 14%. For the last 10 years the kvas market has grown 10 times (source).

According to this source (see link), in 2010 'Ochakovo' was the leader in kvas market and had 32% of market share, brand 'Nicola' - 20% , 'Krujka i bochka' by Coca-cola - 7%.

Competition for kvas
In the Russian soft drinks market there are two main players - PepsiCo and Coca Cola. In the kvass niche, first PepsiCo entered the Russian market in March 2010 - with the brand Russky Dar (see link).  Coca Cola has also entered the market and registered several kvas brands.

Here is a video about Coca cola and kvas brands

Other kvas competitors
Kvas brands such as Ochakovsky, Nicola, Russky Dar, Krujka i bochka, Opohmeloff, Hlebniy krai, Moskvas are presented in table below.

Please note: this is not an exclusive list of kvass producers in the Russian market.


Nicola brand advertising strategy
Nicola has two meanings. First meaning - as a male name (working class), second meaning can be translated from the Russian language as "Not as Cola". In an ad campaign they use both meanings, "Drink natural, Drink Nicola = Not as Cola".

Propaganda 'No! to Kvass'
The commercial titled as Hat/Шапка, Propaganda Kvasu Net (see link), was done by Instinct advertising agency for Deka company, Nicola brand, in Russia. It was released in the May 2008.

Last summer, I have tried all the popular brands that are producing kvas and my favorite is Ochakovo (see link) because it is not as gassy as the others and has more natural rye bread taste. Kvas 'Russky dar' (see link) is quite gassy and does not have an organic bread taste. Nicola (see link) is somewhere between Russky dar and Ochakovo with some notes of yeast to my taste. Overall, my first choice is Ochakovo then Nicola then Russky dar.

1 comment:

  1. Kvas is one of the popular soft drink in Russia.It really looks so refreshing.Really interesting blog,which helps me to know one new flavor of soft drink..keep sharing such informative blog


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