Gold medals went to Gamma A for its jellied sprats, Līcis 93 for its sprats in oil with polymer lid and glass-jarred sprats, and Ventspils ZKK for its fried sprats in mustard sauce. Sabiedrība IMS took the silver medal for its canned fried sprats in tomato sauce.
According to Imants Cīrulis, head of the sprat-makers NGO Rīgas šprotes, Latvia’s popular traditional canned fish products are not having any problems with demand in the Russian market, despite the current food imports embargo on EU products, the unfavorable geopolitical situation regarding Ukraine, and the fall in the value of the ruble.
“The market hasn’t shut down – on the contrary we’re getting more interest. Sprats and canned fish are goods that are easy to transport and store, which is why wholesalers are so interested. There is almost no sprat production in Russia, they’re mostly sold out in stores, thus this niche remains very promising,” said Cīrulis.
Cīrulis noted that this year’s expo seemed less well-attended than previous events. He pointed to Denmark’s stand with its half-empty fruit and vegetable boxes, suggesting it was “apparently in a kind of protest against Russia’s embargo.”
All of the companies belonging to the association Rīgas šprotes – the firms Unda, Rānda, Līcis 93, Sabiedrība IMS, Brīvais vilnis, Gamma A, Karavele and Ventspils ZKK – took part in the expo this year.
In addition, Latvia took part with another stand organized by the Latvian Investment and Development Agency featuring six participating companies – birch-juice sparkling wine maker Sula, egg-producer Balticovo, meat processors Rital D and Almava, fish cannery Banga LTD and bakery Bakerstreet.