Press Releases

• August 17, 2010 - Novelle Consulting Launches New Website
• August 16, 2010 - Erich Hinrichs and John Musser Join Novelle Consulting
• August 1, 2006 - Novelle Principal Awarded Presidential Volunteer Service Award
• December 20, 2005- Sonora State, Mexico Completes Phase I of Development Plan
• April 26, 2005 - PMA Addresses Consumption, Industry Trends with Retailers, Growers in Mexico
• April 18, 2005 - Novelle Assists State of Sonora in Five Year Plan
• June 3, 2004 - BC Hot House Chairman Al Vangelos Elected Russian Farm Project's Chairman of the Board

Novelle in the media

• April 22, 2009, The Packer - Vangelos named Produce Man for All Seasons
• April 10, 2006, The Produce News - Novelle Takes on Winogrond and Obregon as Two Senior Principals
• April 6, 2006, FreshPlaza - Novelle Adds Two New Senior Principals; Obregon and Winogrond
• July, 2005, Productores de Hortalizas - Agronegocios en Sonora
• May 1, 2005, The Produce News - Symposium Shines Spotlight on Sonora Agriculture

on the move

Novelle and Food Safety in Southeast Asia
Novelle and the Gates Foundation
Novelle and the World Bank in Malaysia
Novelle in Southern Sudan
Novelle in Georgia
Novelle in Indonesia
Novelle in Egypt
Novelle in Guatemala
Novelle in Central America
Novelle Consulting in Zambia
Novelle Consulting in the Balkans
Novelle's Indonesian Assignment
Novelle in Southern Africa
Novelle in former Soviet Union
Novelle and Work in Colombia
Bananas in Bangladesh
Vegetables in Moldova
Packing Plant in Moldova
Quality Control in Moldova

white papers

Novelle Consulting and EUREPGAP
Moscow Supermarket Industry
The 5-Year Agricultural Business Development Plan for Sonora, Mexico
Marketing of Horticultural Produce in Asia-From Sonora Symposium


Novelle in the former Soviet Union

After the breakup of the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the 17 NIS’s ( the Newly Independent States ) found themselves in widely different stages of economic, social, and governmental development. Some were showing the ability to move toward capitalism and democracy without any external assistance, and it was quickly evident that for others this process would take decades. However, the U.S. government adopted a policy of attempting to assist these new states in this process, if they were interested in receiving the assistance.

Belarus, a country of approximately 10,000,000 people with important borders on Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, did not appear that it would be a major problem in the beginning. It has a highly educated population, and had long been the center of a number of the important Soviet industrial projects. However, within too brief a period of time, a freely elected President quickly dissolved the legislature, eliminated the judiciary, and established something resembling the last Stalinist dictatorship left in Europe.

However, the U.S. has maintained a low level presence in the country, and has continued to try and assist budding projects of entrepreneurialism ands democracy whenever they may appear. The U.S. Agency for International Development identified one of these opportunities, and working through CNFA, recently asked Novelle principal Henry Winogrond to come to Belarus and assist a rapidly growing small business.

Lesnoy Tsar, Ltd., a small food processing company, had very interesting origins. It was founded by a young couple from the capital, Minsk, and the mother of the husband had been a very famous Soviet food scientist. She was a specialist in food drying, and had written several text books, one of which was translated into English and published in the U.S. Her son, working from the innovative procedures that his mother had developed, began a business based upon the drying of various herbs grown locally in Belarus. His wife is a very innovative developer of recipes, and they began to make some dried soup products. After a couple of years of experimentation, they developed the basis of their commercial success, which was a dried potato mixture. The product consisted of 93% dried potato flakes, and the other 7% represented the various local herbs that Lesnoy Tsar dried at their factory, and then mixed with the potato flakes to form the seven basic recipes that were sold commercially. ( It is interesting to note that commercial food production in Belarus is so unreliable that all of the potato ingredients had to be purchased from Poland. ) The dried ingredients were placed in a cup similar to a small yogurt cup, sealed hermetically, and then sold to a consumer who would just add boiling water to have flavored mashed potatoes. 

The commercial development was also interesting, as they were able to take advantage of the explosive growth of the Moscow supermarket business. Minsk is 8 hours by train from Moscow, and all of their product was sold to Russia. They were able to produce one of these cups for the equivalent of $0.09, and sold them for $0.15 FOB factory. The cups sold in Moscow for $0.30, and they began to experience very rapid growth.

One of the realities of the collapse of the Soviet Union is that these countries were left with no functioning legal system, no history of public or double entry accounting, and no sense of business management. Mr. Winogrond was asked to develop all of the operating and administrative systems for Lesnoy Tsar during his work with them. Fortunately, their Chief Accountant had a rudimentary knowledge of English, and was very eager to learn. After visiting the production site a few hours north of Minsk, Mr. Winogrond began to work with the Accountant and the owners, and using a combination of Intuit’s Quick Books and Excel spreadsheets, over the course of the next few weeks the following systems were installed:
  • Monthly Operating Report
  • Annual Budget
  • Cash Flow Analysis
  • Double Entry Accounting System
  • Use of Quick Books
  • Inventory Cost Accounting
  • Break Even Analysis
  • Daily Operating Reports
  • Product Coding
  • Use of Bar Coding
  • Quality Control System
  • Sales Strategy
  • Directors’/Founders’ Compensation
  • New Plant Analysis
  • Product Formulation Control

Lesnoy Tsar continues to be very profitable, and has continued to grow rapidly, paralleling the extraordinary growth of the Russian supermarket business.