With the approval of the European Commission, Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers have been adopted that will define and classify product groups of kvass and malt beverages, regulate the labelling of these products, as well as define the application of these product names in the labelling of other non-alcoholic beverages.
In December 2009 representatives of the fermented or real kvass SIA “Ilgezeem” (“Iļģuciema kvass”) and JSC “Cēsu alus” (“Ulmaņlaiku kvass”) addressed the Republic of Latvia Ministry of Agriculture with a suggestion to introduce amendments to the Law that would allow consumers to clearly distinguish fermented kvass from kvass beverages that significantly differ by their content and production process.
Currently in Latvia, naturally fermented kvass and kvass beverages are sold with the same title “kvass”, this misleads consumers because in essence, production process and nutritional value these are two different beverages. Also, production costs of real kvass and kvass flavoured beverages significantly differ, which prevents the competitiveness of prices among these two products.
On 30 September, 2010 the Cabinet of Ministers adopted the Regulations “Quality and classification requirements for kvass and kvass (malt) beverage”, where kvass is defined as a non-alcoholic beverage and terminology is applied that introduces the differences between fermented and non-fermented kvass, ingredients are provided that must be used during the production process, the safety and quality indexes of the completed production are provided. The project of the regulations provides that no sweeteners or flavouring is used in the production process, but kvass can be refined by vitamins and minerals, and at the kvass production process only such food additives can be used as lactic acid (E 270), citric acid (E 330), ascorbic acid (E 300), sodium benzoate (E 211) and potassium sorbate (E 202). But alcohol, contained by kvass, is produced only during the process of fermentation.
The new Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers shall come into force beginning from 1 July, 2011, providing a transition period of 3 months for the introduction of the necessary requirements.
Initiators of the project SIA “Ilgezeem” and JSC “Cēsu alus” consider that the introduction of the new order is a significant step towards organising the kvass market in Latvia, because thus consumers won’t be misled and provision of honest competitiveness among the product producers and distributors will be provided.
JSC “Cēsu alus” board member Gustavs Zatlers: “We have to call things what they really are; buyers have to know the facts about the products they purchase to make objective choices which fulfil their needs.”
SIA „Ilgezeem” board member Roberts Volfs: “The competitiveness among the kvass market will be fairer because the production process of fermented kvass is more expensive, and therefore the store price is higher than for kvass beverages. The rest of the market participants will begin to consider introduction of natural kvass in their assortment as well, and consumers will have more choices to choose from.”
The Republic of Latvia Ministry of Agriculture provides that the requirements included in the project of regulations will allow introducing order to the requirements for the production of kvass, which currently are adjusted to a single production technique, as well as retain the current traditions of kvass production applied in Latvia.