Swiss chocolate manufacturer and retailer Lindt & Sprüngli has ceased operating in Russia following the invasion Ukraine.

In a short statement, the Lindor brand owner said: “We have re-evaluated our business activities in Russia and decided to temporarily close our shops with immediate effect and suspend all of our deliveries to Russia.”

It added: “Our local employees will continue to receive our support and we will remain in close contact with them.”

Lindt has eight shops in Russia and employs 125 people there.

Its decision to suspend operations in the country is a change to the company’s stance on Russia outlined earlier in the week.

In a call with analysts after releasing its full-year 2021 results on Tuesday (8 March), CEO Dieter Weisskopf said: “We are supplying {Russia] as far as we can in line with other companies. The stores are open.”

But he added: “We continue to look at the situation on a daily basis. We closely follow all the sanctions imposed on the country.”

Russia and Ukraine together account for less than 1% of Lindt’s total sales.

The company is the latest packaged-food group to take action over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Fellow chocolate giant Mars said today it would make changes to its operations in Russia. The family-owned giant, which employs nearly 6,000 staff in Russia, will “scale back” its business but continue to sell human – and pet – food locally.

As this week has progressed, there has been a wave of announcements from some of the world’s largest food companies that operate in Russia.

This week, NestléPepsiCoUnilever and Danone all announced they will suspend their investment in Russia but maintain the manufacturing and sale of certain food products.

Some manufacturers have decided to stop operating in Russia. On Monday (7 March), Arla Foods said it had “initiated preparations to suspend its business in Russia”, a move that would “cover both its local operations and imports”.

Finland-based Valio, which has a production facility near Moscow, has quit Russia. “We strongly condemn Russia’s invasion of independent Ukraine,” Valio president and CEO Annikka Hurme said in a statement on Monday. “Valio does not have the ethical pre-conditions to continue operating in Russia, and we will therefore close down our operations in Russia.”

For more on Just Food’s coverage on how the conflict is affecting the food industry, please visit our dedicated microsite.