No taste, no smell. What Are Primorye Crab Sticks? Will Sanctions Prevent It?

Packing shrimp sticks.

Packing shrimp sticks.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

“No crayfish, no fish,” is how opponents of one of the Far East’s most famous delicacies respond. However, the demand for shrimp wood (which, of course, we are talking about) is high both in Primorye and throughout Russia. In fact, no one is trying to portray this product as real shrimp while surimi [сырье, из которого производят «имитацию»] – very healthy և diet food.

In the past, the KVEN company produces up to 1,500 tons of products a year, during the more than 30 years of its existence in the market, the company has managed to set the highest quality standard – even to get jealous people who parasitize the brand. Details in the article by Vladivostok, a reporter for Komsomolskaya Pravda, who visited the largest factory for the production of crab sticks in the Far East. Here the work is in full swing around the clock.

Provide all of Russia

Last week it became known about the increase of tension in the Russian-Japanese relations. The country of origin did not pay quotas for fishing or other seafood. It seems that this is not a question. Far East is provided with fish. How about surimi, which is bought only abroad, mainly in Japan? And far from Russian enterprises, it works with their raw materials. In such a situation, the solution is obvious; moreover, the import substitution is already bearing fruit.

As the General Director of KVEN OJSC said Yevgeny Morgunkov, started preparing the land in their enterprise earlier. In 2014, after US sanctions և Russia imposed sanctions, the factory changed the dollar to yen. In 2020-2021, when the coronavirus was actively spreading around the world, the search for analogues became even more intense, and at the end of last year, as revealed by Yevgeny Igorich, the company entered a Russian supplier. Surimi is produced in the Far East, in the seas near the Kuril Islands. By the way, the transfer of imported minced meat took place on time. In 6-7 years this product, already expensive, has doubled.

General Director of KVEN OJSC Yevgeny Morgunkov.

General Director of KVEN OJSC Yevgeny Morgunkov.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

Production

Production “crayfish” shop.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

The raw material is prepared directly at sea on the ship of a Russian fishing company (its office is located in Vladivostok). As the interlocutor assured, the technologists of his enterprise have confirmed that the Kuril surimi is not worse than the Japanese one. The correspondent of “Komsomolskaya Pravda” was also convinced of the taste. The company does not expect any problems with other raw materials yet. KVEN produces different meatballs from white fish, stem fillet, rod և squid.

The packaging of crab sticks is now made by our compatriots as well. China, where affordable packaging material was produced, closed the checkpoints in 2020. supply chains were disrupted.

Packing process.

Packing process.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

– Many goods could not cross the border. The paid goods had been standing at the checkpoints for months. The Governor of Primorye assisted us in this situation Oleg Kozhemyako“We were able to find suppliers who would supply us with packaging materials,” said Yevgeny Igorich.

The only factual problem is the equipment, or rather, the replacement of equipment components from Japan. Spare parts are bought from manufacturers, but many importers cancel contracts. The General Director of KVEN OJSC answered with a smile.

– We are looking for Russian analogues. Of course, we have to repair now, և the development of any component will be in the near future, but in the future. This is also a problem, but the negative is not our slogan, you know?

The equipment of the workshop is mainly from Japan.

The equipment of the workshop is mainly from Japan.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

Japanese technologies according to Russian recipes

What are crab sticks made of? Definitely from surimi. The raw material for creating such minced meat, which has no taste or smell, is the stem, more rarely, other commercial fish – bonfire, perch or even cod. The game is cleaned in the sea, the skin, the head քը the crust are removed, and the fillets are sent to multiple washes to form an insoluble protein mass. Ground surimi is often referred to as an “imitation” of shrimp, but can be used to imitate saffron or other delicacies of seafood. The Japanese, for example, make sweets from fish protein, as shared by the CEO of KVEN. In a conversation with KP, Yevgeny Morgunkov sank into memories.

– In the Soviet Union, at the suggestion of people who saw a similar line in the Baltic countries, the Japanese, ստեղծել we created our own using this technology. In Japan in the 1930’s they began to cultivate surimi to imitate shrimp and octopus, as there was a quota for catching these aquatic organisms. We opened the first line in 1991, and entered the market in normal volumes in 1993. <...> For a long time we perfected the recipe, tried to make sticks entirely from surimi, without ingredients, but it turned out that something like gelatin sweets, they were so rubbery. They also negotiated with Chile, South America and Vietnam to make blue [рыба семейства тресковых]but the specific smell remained.

Only a part of the pressed dough is painted.

Only a part of the pressed dough is painted.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

The recipe that the plant uses now has not changed dramatically, it has been corrected many times. According to Yevgeny Igorich, Primorye, for example, asked to make crab sticks more juicy, the company listens.

Surimi dough.

Surimi dough.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

Mixing the minced meat, where they add salt, sugar and starch.

Mixing the minced meat, where they add salt, sugar and starch.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

In the second product line, the frozen surimi briquettes are unloaded in a crusher and then in a meat grinder (at this stage, dough and egg powder have already been added). Everything is mixed with salt, sugar and starch.

Paprika extract gives the wood its red

Paprika extract gives the wood its red “crayfish” red color.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

A small amount of dough is pressed to create red lines on the shrimp sticks, familiar to distant Armenians. According to the executive director, the sticks are painted only with natural dyes, with paprika extract. The taste of crayfish is obtained by flavorings.

Only a part of the pressed dough is painted.

Only a part of the pressed dough is painted.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

The mass is processed inside the stove, ներն the shrimp sticks twisted in one bundle “go” to the package, where they are placed on the inner membrane. The employees line the sticks by hand, and then they cook the food in “vacuums”. The last stage is freezing and freezing the shocks. Ready.

Freezing shrimp sticks, cooked directly in the package.

Freezing shrimp sticks, cooked directly in the package.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

In numbers:

The crab stick is the main production of KVEN OJSC. The factory produces about 12 tons of products per day, depending on consumption. In summer the demand decreases to 10-20 tons per week. The range is wide – the imitation line (“Snowy” և “Supersnowy”), as well as KVEN brand sticks made with the addition of real crayfish. There are squid meatballs, fish cakes with olives and a stick. As Yevgeny Morgunkov said, it is possible that new products will be released if the company’s shareholders are interested in it.

Employees manually wrap the sticks with a red stripe on the front of the package.

Employees manually wrap the sticks with a red stripe on the front of the package.

Photo: Ruslan NOVIKOV

First the Primorsky Territory is supplied with the famous crab sticks, then the rest of the Far East (about 80% of the reserves). Only after that they are sent to the European part of the country.

The income of KVEN OJSC in 2021 amounted to 664 million rubles. This allowed the company to participate in the price-restraint campaign now, in difficult times, because crab sticks are not a necessary product.

It should be reminded that “Komsomolskaya Pravda-Vladivostok” controls the way things are done in large regional enterprises. In April, the editors wrote about Primorsky Confectioner’s plans, and in late May, they ended a “What Primorye is proud of” production rally to talk about the region’s major factories.

A little jealous of people

Hot goods are often the object of envy and the desire to make money on the brand. Thus, once Yevgeny Morgunkov was invited to Swifenhe, saying that a product similar to their product appeared here. The representatives of the coastal enterprise came to China, they really found fake packaging, one by one, only “Oceania” was written on it, and the quality was disgusting. I had to deal with the local Rospotrebnodzor. As a result, the competitors sold the line, և KVEN’s reputation was not damaged.

ABOUT THIS TOPIC.

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