The NMGK Group announced at the Expo Milan 2015 it will begin the international expansion of its Mabius culinary startup center. Building from its successful Moscow project experience, it plans to open two centers in Europe and one in China.
The main universal food exhibition of the Expo Milan 2015, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is in its last week.
Now long queues fill each pavilion, and on October 22 only those that waited in line for 2-3 hours before the event made it to the Mabius taste test in the Russia Pavillion. Even though all those people were really hungry, but they still carefully listened, above all to what they were going to be fed by the Russian startups. Three Mabius projects traveled to Milan, Andrey Ryvkin’s United Kitchen canned king crab and sauces, Marianna Orlinkova’s company “Nashi Kashi” (Our Oatmeal) and Valeria Opanasyuk’s CheeseBox, homemade cheese-making kits.
“In Russia, we usually go to the store to get cheese. And we love Italian and French cheese. But now, because of sanctions, there is none in Russian stores,” said United Kitchen chef and Mabius Director Andrey Ryvkin. “But we are learning how to make it at home. You can make many types of cheese with our CheeseBox sets. Valeria Opanasyuk, the creator of Cheesebox, showed off a small box: “Here is a set with enzymes, simple instructions, and good farmer’s milk: with this you can make wonderful cheese at home.” People with hungry eyes, as if they had never had cheese in Italy before, began to periodically eagerly clap. “Cheese,” Ryvkin said, interrupted by applause, “we suggest eating with pumpkin and crab from the Barents Sea. Here, meet him,” he said, showing a big pink claw. It seemed like it was the first time people had seen a crab from the Barents Sea, who lingered and believed Andrey, who promised that canned crab from United Kitchen that is in stores in Russia, will soon be in Italy within a short timeframe.
Andrey said that setting up Mabius centers in record time will help him as an entrepreneur, beginning with help from the business plan, and then ending with investment and access to sales on Russian and Asian markets. In the next year, Mabius is going to invest a total of $14 million and is ready to bring 50 new products to market in cooperation with Russian gastro-entrepreneurs. For those people who could fit in the open kitchen towered over places with cheese, crab, and pumpkin millet oatmeal from the project “Nashi Kashi”, a hearty, healthy, and inexpensive food which is very tasty. “Well, if we have something to boast about in modern Russian cuisine, it is oatmeal with added millets with pumpkin cream, cardamom, and anise oil,” said Marianna Orlinkova, the head chef of Nashi Kashi, as she was giving out steaming bowls of millet oatmeal.
“With our participation in the Expo Milan 2015, we announce our international plans,” said Andrey Ryvkin, happily watching people’s reactions to the tastings. “Over the next three years, we plan to open even more Mabius centers: joining Moscow will be one in Liga, London, and Shenzhen. The idea is to create and international network synergy: Russia will source the raw ingredients, ideas, and human capital; Europe the marketing and food technology; and Asia will provide the key markets for the products. Building on experiencing from the Moscow Mabius, through 2018, we plan to open three centers in London, Riga, and Shenzhen, with total investment of more than $30 million,” said Ryvkin.
Ryvkin also emphasized that Mabius is ready to work with Italian projects and help them access the Russian and Asian markets. “In the era of sanctions, in Russia you cannot import Burrata cheese, for example. But you can import the manufacturing technology and use Russian milk. This is obviously best done with a Russian partner who is willing to provide access to 90,000 sales outlets in Russia. At the same time, for example, in Asia Burrata may not be appreciated, but if you do adapt it to their taste – the product could become a hit.”
On the question of new trends, it seems the three products that Mabius presented at the Expo Milan in 2015 have the potential to become hits. There were more than 200 taste-test participants eagerly ate up everything that was on display. Only the crab claws from the demonstration remained. Praises such as “kasha – bellissima (beautiful!)” and “this is better than borscht” were heard in the crowd.
The culinary startup center Mabius is Russia’s first business accelerator in the food production industry was founded in 2014 in Moscow by Ivan Sidorok, the co-owner and board member of Nizhny Novgorod Fats & Oils Group (NMGK) and Russian partner in the leading Asian agribusiness group Wilmar International Ltd. The main goal of Mabius is to help food entrepreneurs start or scale their own business. In 2015, Mabius went public and in the summer of 2015 it received and processed more than 90 applications, of more than 12 of which will be selected for the autumn incubation at the end of October 2015. If the product passes all the assessment perspective stages, the project will receive $345,000 in upfront investment to help get access to infrastructure and marketing, as well as access to federal trade networks and export to Asia and Europe. The promotion system of new products for the market and provides reach all major retail chains in Russia, more than 90,000 sales outlets. Funding for 2016 is $14 million. Successfully launched startups can count on cooperation or the sale to a major business – the Russian corporate group NMGK, the leader of the oil and fat industry in Russia and a main customer of Mabius. A similar system is used to roll out new products through creative collaboration with minor entrepreneurs. This marketing practice is called “consumer co-create” and began to be used by many large international companies such as Coca-Cola, LEGO, and Unilever. The NMGK Group was the first to apply this practice in Russia. By 2018, Mabius plans to open three new centers in London, Riga, and Shenzhen, and total investment will be more than $30 million.
Andrey Ryvkin, Mabius director and creator of United Kitchen sauces and mayonnaise
Entrepreneur and chef. Ryvkin lived in London for more than 10 years and completed and MBA and Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery from City & Guilds. In Moscow, Ryvkin was responsible for the restaurant and club Dome, was the brand-chef for the catering service Pantagruel and at the same time became the co-owner of United Kitchen. The café United Kitchen successfully operated for several years on Krasny Oktyabr, a bohemian island or art, restaurants, and culture in the middle of Moscow. Now, Andrey prefers street concepts and at the beginning of October 2015 opened the first market bistro at the Danilovsky market in central Moscow. At the same time with his own business, Ryvkin develops the culinary startup center Mabius- he became the project director at the beginning of 2015.
Valeria Opanasyuk, entrepreneur, CheeseBox project
Together with her husband she launched the project CheeseBox, cheese kits to quickly and simply make at home, less than a year ago. Now then line CheeseBox has four kits to prepare cheese: mozzarella, ricotta, halloumi, and “shiz” – a creamy goat cheese. These cheese preparations are the most simple and do not require a lot of time. The process of preparing mozzarella takes no more than 2 hours, and the goat cheese will be ready in a day. Each set comes with everything necessary to prepare the cheese at home from rennet to a special milk thermometer. The only thing left to buy is milk, and you can start making cheese. The CheeseBox project was launched just less than a year ago, in the autumn of 2015 became a member of the culinary startup center Mabius.
Marianne Orlinkova, chef of "Nashi kashi” (Russian for ‘Our oatmeal’)
Deputy-editor-in-chief of “Gastronom”, author, chief editor, and chef of the “Nashi kashi” cookbooks. The cultural and gastronomical project “Nashi kashi” is healthy food in a format that is adapted to the rhythm of city life. The porridge comes in convenient and environmentally-friendly packaging and is easy to eat outdoors, take to work, or order for delivery. The menu of “Nashi kashi” is designed to let you to create a variety of combinations of base and mineral supplements to add to any oatmeal. The oatmeal is prepared from carefully selected ingredients, giving preferences to local and organic farms.