Eсoklaster - First National eсobrend

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Экокластер - Первый национальный экобрэнд, vigiljournal.com

Eco products are driving out industrial production

 At present eco production is the leading international trend with the highest growth rates. The coordinator of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements Flavia Castro points out that nowadays the market of eco products in Europe is estimated as more than €20bn. It equals to nearly 4 per cent of the European consumer market in whole. Within last year it was the fastest-growing: its dynamics made up about 20 per cent annually, whereas the European consumer market rate did not exceed 3 per cent for the last ten years.

 The market of eco products is going through a stage of a real boom. The desire of western users for consumption of only natural and qualitative became for them a certain new religion: they are ready to save on entertainments and holidays, but they must have a possibility to buy organic products several times a week. Organic agriculture is actively developing in 160 countries, and 1.6m farmers cultivate 37m hectares of agricultural lands. World’s sales of organic food products and beverages came to $59bn in 2010.

 Both production and sales are growing. Within 2011 the number of organic farms in Europe has increased in average by 5 per cent, and also the amount of biomarkets has noticeably grown with new areas totaling dozens of thousands of square meters. Record sales of dairy products produced according to the EU eco standards have been registered. Baby food segment has shown a considerable growth. Fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods and bread, spices, meat and meat delicacies, confectionary have been sold out best of all. The leaders of expenses growth on eco products per head have become Denmark, Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

 “Eco EU farms , the members of our organization, produce bean and grain cultures, tea, honey, mushrooms, eggs, meat, milk and dairy products, vegetables, sea products, yeast and wine,” noted Flavia Castro. “The closure of Macdonald’s network in Switzerland (the most irreconcilable country concerning not natural products) and the development in Europe movement of “slow food” versus “fast food” indirectly witness the mood of European customers to buy eco products more actively. The important issue is the fact that last year after the dioxin scandal in Germany customers snapped up eggs and meat with the mark BIO.”

 At present part of rural areas in Europe makes up 7.39m hectares, including 3m as bio arable land and 3.2m as bio pastures. The greatest quantity of eco areas is in Italy (1,15m ha), then Spain (1m ha), and Germany (0.87m ha).

 The EU countries strongly support organic agriculture at all levels. Since 1989 German bio farms, which work according to the EU principles, have been supported both by their state budgets and by the European Union. Finance programs which deal with sales concept of eco products are in progress. In Germany there is a prize for healthy life-style and there are cooking courses for schoolchildren and their parents. The Check Republic conducts a large scale advertising campaign for eco products usage; this campaign is financed both by the EU and country’s agricultural investment fund. The programme “organic schools” which started educational courses for students and teachers is under development. Similar training courses are conducted by British company “Food for Life” which has opened cooking classes, arranges excursions to eco farms, helps to develop school vegetable gardens network where ecological vegetables are grown. In Italy eco products are used in school dinner cooking.

 Recent European research data confirm benefits of eco products. Scientists have proved that organic fruit and vegetables contain up to 40 per cent of antioxidants, which substantially decrease risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It has also been found out that antioxidant level in the milk of animals raised by an organic method is up to 90 per cent higher than in the milk of those who were raised in stalls. Moreover, in these products there are more minerals, microelements and other useful things so essential for people living in megalopolis.

 In Russia the development of organic agriculture is restrained by the low level of legal regulation and national assistance, certification systems, and also by an insufficient population’s education concerning products’ quality. “The task of the first Russian professional eco producer group “Ecocluster” which includes more than 80 partners from different countries of the world is to establish a civilized market of eco products and eco services in Russia,” says its founder and owner of eco farm “Konovalovo” Alexander Konovalov. “People should have every opportunity to eat qualitative products, live under environmentally friendly conditions, wear nice and stylish clothes made of natural fibers, use eco cosmetics. Our products in quality are not inferior to Western ones. It’s high time for Russia to enter the international market. Our country has tremendous prospects.”

 The main idea of group “Ecocluster” is to concentrate selling and providing all possible eco goods and eco services into one project. It should be a global eco hypermarket where one could find everything, from fresh cow milk and home-made meat dumplings to clothes, cosmetics and family tours. All production is exclusive, piece work, with a lot of manual labour, accordingly its quality is much higher than in line production method. In producing goods “Ecocluster” follows standards of organic agriculture. While growing vegetables, fruit, producing and processing products the group does not use pesticides, GMO, growth hormones, antibiotics, emulsifiers, stabilizers, flavor additives and preservatives.

 The main distribution channels of organic products are European retail networks, with discounters included. For example, up to 67 per cent of eco products are sold through retail channels in Austria. Specialized shops take the second place according to total volume, while delivery from producers directly to buyers is in the third place. Group “Ecocluster” set up its own system of distribution channels, which includes chain stores and direct delivery goods ordered through the Internet shop "ecocluster" to the client.

 The portal offers farmers’ products – milk, sour cream, butter, yoghurts, condensed milk, beef, pork, and fish. One can enjoy home-made meat and oriental dumplings, baked goods, jam and pickles. For citizens of large cities it will be very useful to eat such products as mushrooms, berries, honey from the Altay forests, which are known for their unique ecology. Many people know how it is difficult to find good olive oil. “Ecocluster” cooperates with Spanish and Greek farms offering organic fragrant oil. There are also unique products, for example, oil made from seeds of the argan tree which grows only in Morocco. In addition to it, one can also buy qualitative drinking water without preservatives, natural bioproducts “Narine-Forte” and bifidumbacterin “Bifishka” with live bacteria from specialists of Koltsovo (The State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology “Vector” of Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare).

 Group “Ecocluster” offers a comfortable holiday in eco hotels. Geography of tours is vast- it is Moscow area, Karelia, Germany, etc. For example, there is a mini business class hotel, a sauna, a café on the eco farm “Konovalovo”. Guests face domestic surroundings, sluggish service, meals cooked from the farm’s products. Children are very glad to meet domestic animals. It is interesting for them to feed a cow, a goat, a lamb, to have a rabbit in the hands. Nature, silence, space, a possibility to relax, rest, “listen to himself” - all this is necessary for people living in large cities and working hard. 
“We are not in pursuit of momentary profit. Our strategy is high quality, reliability and comfortable service. We are planning to reach the turnover of 6-8m in 2012”, says Alexander Konovalov.

 Group “Ecocluster” efficiently cooperates with federal and regional authorities, realizes social and training programs on healthy life-style, a careful attitude towards nature, reconstructs cultural heritage, keeps regions’ biodiversity, ensures job creation in rural areas, and is engaged in propaganda and editing activities.