MEXICO CITY — Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV and Cereal Partners Worldwide, a joint venture between General Mills, Inc. and Nestle SA, have suspended operations in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Mexico City-based Grupo Bimbo has suspended sales of the Bimbo brand in Russia as well as new capital and marketing investments, the company announced March 14. Russia in 2021 accounted for least than 0.5% of Grupo Bimbo’s consolidated net sales. Grupo Bimbo has one bakery in Moscow and 362 employees.
“Our priority is the well-being of our associates, and for that reason they will keep receiving support from us in this complex environment,” Grupo Bimbo said. “We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”
Cereal Partners Worldwide sells cereal outside North America with CPW sales in Russia accounting for less than 1% of total General Mills sales. In partnership with Nestle, General Mills has stopped advertising and suspended all capital investment in the CPW business in Russia. Minneapolis-based General Mills does not have any wholly owned operations in Russia and does not have any plants, employees or distributors in the country.
“We are actively working on ways to help those impacted by this war through donations of food and water, including donations to food banks and local charities to help those in need in Ukraine and the neighboring countries,” General Mills said.
Nestle SA, Vevey, Switzerland, has halted all advertising in Russia and suspended all capital investment in the country. The company has suspended exports of its products, except for essential foods like baby foods, out of Russia to countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Nestle has suspended imports of the company’s products into Russia except for essential foods, including baby food, cereal, and tailored nutrition and therapeutic pet foods for specialist retailers and veterinarian clinics.
“At this time, the safety and security of our people is our highest priority,” Nestle said. “We are in close daily contact with our employees and doing all we can to ensure their safety. We are also providing them with support in the form of emergency food packages, advance salary payments, and administrative assistance and psychological support to help employees and their families who have already left or wish to leave the country.
“In addition, we have donated products to food banks and local charities to help those in need in Ukraine and neighboring countries, and we will continue to do so. Nestle employees across the world are also stepping up to show their solidarity through a fundraiser in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC). Their contributions to support the people in Ukraine will be matched by the company.”
Other companies associated with the grain-based foods industry have acted as well:
• AAK, Karlshamn, Sweden, has halted deliveries to and sales in Russia.
• ADM, Chicago, has scaled down operations in Russia not related to the production and transport of essential food commodities and ingredients.
“We are focused first on the safety of our almost 650 Ukrainian colleagues, who are being subjected to increasingly indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas,” ADM said March 11. “At the same time, we’re rapidly growing our efforts to support the Ukrainian people, committing more than $5 million in financial and other support, including wheat for the Ukrainian flour milling industry; working with Ukrainian farmers to purchase their crops, putting more cash in the hands of those who need it; and using our logistical expertise to import and distribute emergency food rations.”
• Cargill, Minneapolis, will continue to operate essential food and feed facilities in Russia.
“Food is a basic human right and should never be used as a weapon,” Cargill said. “This region plays a significant role in our global food system and is a critical source for key ingredients in basic staples like bread, infant formula and cereal.”
Cargill will support Ukrainian colleagues and humanitarian efforts in the region through the United Nation’s World Food Program, World Central Kitchen, Red Cross, Save the Children, European Food Banks Federation and CARE.
• Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., is donating $1 million in cash to the United Nations’ Refugee Agency and The Global FoodBanking Network and sending food aid. Kellogg teams in Poland and Romania are preparing emergency accommodations and organizing food and personal care collections.
• Kraft Heinz Co., Pittsburgh, has suspended all new investments in Russia, all exports of Kraft Heinz products to Russia and all imports of products from Russia.
• McDonald’s Corp., Chicago, temporarily has closed all its restaurants in Russia and paused all operations in that market.
• Subway, Milford, Conn., has no corporate operations in Russia.“Our approximately 450 restaurants in Russia are all independently owned and operated by local franchisees and managed by an independent master franchisee,” Subway said. “We don’t directly control these independent franchisees and their restaurants and have limited insight into their day-to-day operations. While we do not control or manage the operations of independent franchisees in Russia, we will redirect any profits from operations in Russia to humanitarian efforts supporting Ukrainians who have been affected by the war. We are also working with our franchisees across Europe to provide meals to refugees.”