Nestle ‘tentatively’ reopens Ukrainian factories to restock empty food shelves

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ukraine is experiencing a humanitarian crisis with rapidly dwindling stocks of food and water. Pic: GettyImagesAndrey Zhuravlev
Ukraine is experiencing a humanitarian crisis with rapidly dwindling stocks of food and water. Pic: GettyImagesAndrey Zhuravlev

Related tags: Ukraine, Nestlé, Grupo bimbo, Coca Cola, Mondelez International, Russia, Frazer

The Swiss food giant is restarting some of its operations in Ukraine in order to support the delivery of essential food and beverages to those who remain in the country.

More than 1 million people have already crossed the border, with numbers set to rise as the Russian invasion intensifies.

However, millions of civilians remain and are subjected to limited access to food and water. Supermarkets are direly low on essentials like bread and other food stocks in the capital of Kyiv and other cities in the country.

Nestle shuttered its factories and warehouses in Ukraine on 24 February, when Russian boots were ordered into the country.

It is now planning to reopen facilities in central and west Ukraine to help with the humanitarian effort, but declined to divulge details.

The company operates three factories in the region, producing confectionery, coffee, sauces and cooking products. The sites employ 5,800 people.

“A limited part of our supply chain operations is running today in places where it is safe to do so. The latest information is that this was partially possible. We remain committed to continuing to serve the local people with essential food and beverages,”​ a Nestlé spokesperson said in a statement.

Lactalis, the world’s largest dairy producer, has also reopened its plant in Nikolaev in the south of the country. One of three in Ukraine, the site was closed due to nearby fighting.

Numerous F&B majors have shuttered operations in Ukraine following the outbreak of the conflict, including Grupo Bimbo, Mondelez International, Coca-Cola and Danish brewer Carlsberg, along with ingredient suppliers like ADM and Bunge.

Western sanctions are also starting to hit international companies with operations in Russia, with Finland’s Fazer Group being the latest to suspend the export of ‘milling products’ and confectionery to the county, despite the expected annual sales loss of around €12.5m ($13.8m).

Cookies sales to help children caught up in the conflict

No effort – no matter how big or how small – is going unnoticed.

Cookies bearing the Ukrainian flag are being produced by a family-owned Caithness bakery to aid the humanitarian effort.

Stacks Deli, Bakery & Coffee House in John O'Groats on the northern most tip of Scotland is selling the treats at £1.50 each, with all proceeds going to an appeal set up by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).

Stacks is owned and run by mother and daughter Teresa and Rebecca Wymer.

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