Head of Roskachestvo Maxim Protasov
Photo: Julia PYKHALOVA
During a period of rapid price increases, producers can use various schemes to keep prices down. Use the available cheats. How to check the quality of products in such conditions? Do we need full control over each product? And how to help consumers in the choice? Maxim Protasov, head of Roskachestvo, spoke about this in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.
– Maksim Alexandrovich, investigates the quality of products, goods and services in a wide range. How many goods are we talking about?
– Our task is to make the Roskachestvo mobile application and portal become a real navigator for consumers in the market of goods and services. To do this, our database contains around 10,000 cards for a wide range of products, which allows any of us, having come to the store and pointing our mobile phone at the barcode, to know the result of the search for this product, its rating assigned by Roskachestvo, information about which product problems have been identified. At the same time, we are constantly increasing the number of products we study. Today, our database contains the main products of the consumer’s basic basket and all the most common brands.
– Is there growth potential?
– We conducted analytical research, the results of which found that even now, most citizens of our country will find almost any product in our mobile application. In addition, Roskachestvo conducts all research at the expense of the state budget – taxpayer funds. Therefore, we do not check niche products that are not found anywhere. One of the focuses of our activity now is the study of regional brands, which, potentially, in the new stage of import substitution, can enter sales at the national level. We would like to know how high your quality level is and if these Goods receive the State Quality Mark, in order to help you as much as possible in promoting the market.
– Are there any product categories that are not affected by you?
– There are less of them, but so far they are still found. This year we are also carrying out a re-survey of goods from the basic consumer basket. Let’s see the most demanded products in our country in an economic price category. Through inquiries to our portal, we see that citizens have concerns about a possible deterioration in the quality of these products.
How do you define quality?
– It is important to approach this topic with clear patterns and patterns. First of all, we must confirm that the investigated product meets the requirements of technical regulations and is safe for the consumer. In addition, we looked at how the manufacturer correctly labeled the product and provided full information to the consumer, if the ingredients were replaced with unacceptable ones. For example, if it is a doctor’s sausage and we only see poultry meat in it, such a doctor’s sausage cannot exist. There must be pork and beef. This means that this is a consumer fraud, a counterfeit. We want this product removed from the shelf. Another question is, even if it contains pork and beef, how high is the quality? Here is our lab test to see how good the raw materials used in the production of sausages or frankfurters were. There are permitted additives and there are additives that replace raw meat. After all, the buyer did not come to the store for starch and soy protein, but for sausages. We reveal it. Depending on all these parameters, Roskachestvo rates the product and advertises it to the consumer. If a product meets the allowable requirements but, for example, is simply of poor quality in terms of raw materials and additional ingredients, we assign a low rating. In addition, the buyer himself receives information about this rating and chooses which product to buy.
– Now, against the background of rising prices, manufacturers resort to different tricks. For example, they do not increase the price of a product, but reduce the volume. How can the consumer be protected?
– Inform him. There should definitely be no situations where a product, due to visual solutions, looks like a liter of milk, but actually contains 970 grams. This problem exists all over the world. The actual net weight must be written on the large product. Therefore, we always recommend that consumers carefully study the packaging. In addition, proposals are now being made to establish a legal requirement for the marking, label or price tag to indicate the price per 100 grams of the product. This will allow the buyer to correctly compare prices and understand the decision. Such additional information to consumers has a basis, and Roskachestvo is considering supporting it. After all, we always implement any tool that allows us not to mislead the consumer.
– Another problem is the difficulty in finding the expiration date. There are no uniform standards. Each manufacturer, where he wants, writes it there. Is there a solution here?
– Roskachestvo constantly conducts consumer surveys. And we see the trend quite clearly: 5 years ago, only 32% of consumers were interested in the expiration date of the product, and now almost all consumers regularly check the expiration date. Another thing is that the information about the date and storage conditions is not always printed on the packaging of the products large enough for a person with some vision to distinguish it. Here I recommend our consumers to contact Roskachestvo if they see a problem. The technical regulation on marking says that you and I must always see the date on the product, for this you do not need to get a microscope or binoculars. If you suddenly did not find the expiration date, please let us know. We will work with such manufacturers.
– There was a proposal from the Ministry of Agriculture – to allow the sale of bakery products, vegetables and fruits without packaging. How acceptable is this solution? In principle, in the USSR, bread was sold without packaging and no one seemed to die. Also, this is an additional environmental component. Less packaging means less waste.
– From the point of view of packaging, if there is an environmental problem, it is necessary to reduce the volume of packaging in the world and ensure its recycling. However, the lack of packaging increases the risks of bacterial contamination of food products. This is true. It is not yet clear how much manufacturers, distributors and distribution networks will be able to minimize these risks by moving products without packaging, how much more work we or our colleagues in the regulatory authorities will have. In any case, I’m not sure loose bread and bagged bulk cereals are going to become a mass phenomenon. Consumers are used to the fact that our products are packaged, and the packaging contains a wealth of information, including production dates, Roskachestvo classification, and even the Russian Quality Mark, which has been helping the country’s citizens to choose the best national products. for many years.
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