From temporarily closing their stores to suspending their businesses, these major F&B brands buckle up in the united front against Russia.

Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, many major players and brands have exited the market in a move to cripple Russia’s economy. These include well-known brands like McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks, who have all stopped sales effective Tuesday, March 8, 2022.

And these 4 companies all have major operations in Russia.

With Starbucks and McDonald’s temporarily closing hundreds of stores, PepsiCo stopping the sale of its drinks brands, and Coca-Cola suspending its business in Russia, the bold move by these big brands in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry will undoubtedly impact the country and its citizens.

End of an Era: McDonald’s

Despite temporarily closing all 847 of its restaurants, McDonald’s said in a statement that it will still continue paying the salaries of its 62,000 employees in Russia. But this closure also carries a symbolic message, since its first branch in central Moscow’s Pushkin Square—a symbol of flourishing American capitalism as the Soviet Union fell—will also be closed.

“We serve millions of Russian customers each day who count on McDonald’s. In the thirty-plus years that McDonald’s has operated in Russia, we’ve become an essential part of the 850 communities in which we operate,” CEO Chris Kempczinski says in a statement. “[But] at the same time, our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine.”

A United Front

Joining the likes of iconic fast food joint McDonald’s, Starbucks Corporation is temporarily closing down hundreds of stores. “We condemn the horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia and our hearts go out to all those affected,” says Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, who added that Starbucks is halting its shipment of all of its products to Russia.

On the other hand, PepsiCo will stop the sale of its drinks and many brands, while also suspending all advertising in Russia. “Given the horrific events occurring in Ukraine, we are announcing the suspension of the sale of Pepsi-Cola, and our global beverage brands in Russia, including 7Up and Mirinda,” says PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta.

He adds, however, that they will continue selling essentials like milk and baby food since they have a responsibility to the country’s citizens and their workers. “By continuing to operate, we will also continue to support the livelihoods of our 20,000 Russian associates and the 40,000 Russian agricultural workers in our supply chain as they face significant challenges and uncertainty ahead,” Laguarta adds.

As for its rival Coca-Cola⁠—the official drink of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow—it too will suspend its business in Russia.

To date, many other companies have cut ties with Russia, with Universal Music suspending all operations in Russia and online dating app Bumble removing its apps from stores in Russia and Belarus. Earlier, Shell and BP have stopped buying oil from Russia, while the US imposed sanctions on the country by banning Russian oil and energy imports.


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