This year marks the 195th anniversary of the Russian confectionery factory “Rot Front”, which has the status of an industrial complex in Moscow. For the significant date, the portal of the city mayor has prepared a report on how the factory produces sweets, cookies, and waffles familiar to locals since their childhood.
According to the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Economic Policy and Property and Land Relations, Vladimir Efimov, 14 enterprises are engaged in the production of chocolate and sugary confectionery in the city to date. In 2020, 43.6 billion rubles worth of products were manufactured and then sold on them. This year, in the first eight months, they produced 107.5 thousand tonnes of chocolate and caramel.
According to the Head of the Department of Investment and Industrial Policy of the City, Alexander Prokhorov, more than 10 thousand people work daily on the production of chocolate and confectionery in the capital. The average salary of the food industry employees of the city is about 83 thousand rubles per month.
As Efimov noted, the products of the capital’s confectioners are exported to 65 countries. A serious share in the total production volume is the factory “Rot Front”, where more than 70 thousand tonnes of finished products are produced annually. Large-scale production is located in an ordinary industrial building in the south of the city, in the Biryulyovo Zapadnoye district.
At the production sites, visitors are greeted by employees in special sterile clothes and a persistent aroma of chocolate. It is noted that one of the main reasons for the appearance of the aroma is the processing of cocoa beans. Cocoa butter and cocoa powder are made at the factory in a special workshop with an area of two thousand square metres, the cost of which is 1.3 billion rubles. This workshop has become one of the largest in Eastern Europe.
It is reminded that the metropolitan merchant, Georgy Lenov, who opened a workshop for the production of lollipops in 1826, had no idea how far his business would go. The descendants of the entrepreneur expanded the family business and began to produce several varieties of sweets. In the XX century, the company was nationalized and renamed into the “Red Front” (from German “red front”). Currently, the factory employs more than 3.2 thousand employees and produces more than 300 types of confectionery.
“The status of the industrial complex gives the company the right to significant tax relief. Thus, there is a preferential tax on profits, land and property, as well as rent for the land. Due to cost savings, the factory implements socially significant projects both for the enterprise and for the city,” the Managing Director of the United Confectioners Holding (which includes the factory), Alexey Orlov, said.
As specified, cocoa beans are processed in several stages. In one room on the line, bags of raw materials brought from Nigeria, Ecuador, Venezuela and other countries are opened. First, cocoa beans are poured into a special drum, where foreign particles are separated from them using a centrifuge, then the husks are washed and removed. In the next stage, the beans are fried and ground to cocoa nibs. After that, it is fried again and already grated cocoa is obtained.
To get cocoa butter, it is necessary to squeeze out the grated raw materials. When the processing is completed, first-pressed cocoa butter is poured into special boxes for further production of sweets. The process from sorting and cleaning beans to the production of cocoa powder and cocoa butter takes about 11 hours. Thus, about 85 tonnes of raw materials are processed in the workshop per day.
The Technical Head of the Cocoa Bean Processing Workshop, Dmitry Solovyov, advises consumers to pay attention to the date of production and study the composition of the product when choosing chocolate and sweets. According to him, cocoa mass, cocoa butter or sugar should be in the first place in the composition of sweets.
Another major investment project of the factory was a new line for the production of chocolate with double and triple fillings. Now the line is being run in, specialists are programming equipment and testing processes. Besides, the next to the line that is just being launched, there is a line on which the “Rot Front” bars are being made, the most famous product of the factory. As specified, the factory produces 1,250 bars every minute.
According to the Director of Quality Control, Natalia Puchkova, the recipe for sweets has not changed since 1959. In this way, they try to preserve the familiar to locals “taste of childhood”.
Sugar cookies are made on the same site but in the next room. Valentina Besedina, who has been working at the factory for more than 27 years, is responsible for this workshop. She clarifies that it takes 14-15 minutes to cook them. Then the cookies travel along the conveyor for 10 minutes and cool down, after which they arrive at the packaging. Packaged products are sent to the warehouse, and from there to retail stores. It is noted that they are sold not only in Russia but also abroad. For example, wafer cookies “Korovka” (“little cow”) will go to Jordan, that is why labels on them are printed in English.
They say that now the factory is working around the clock because it’s the high season before the New Year. Gifts began to be packed back in September because it is necessary to have time to form about 60 types of them. This is done manually because the orders are personalized and contain different sets of sweets.
Currently, in the factory’s museum, there is a special excursion offered to visitors dedicated to the 195th anniversary of the factory’s work. The two-hour excursion programme includes the lecture on the history of the development of the enterprise from the small home workshop to the modern “Rot Front” as an industrial giant of the XXI century. In addition, guests to the factory can attend the excursion to the production sites where they can observe all the stages of the chocolate production and taste finished and semi-finished products.
As promised, at the end of the excursion, visitors are given a sweet confectionery gift, which includes branded products. More about the excursion can be learnt from its official page.