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March 15, 2022updated 17 Mar 2022 10:37am

Mexico bakery firm Grupo Bimbo suspends namesake brand sales in Russia

Grupo Bimbo has also halted investment in Russia.

By Simon Harvey

Grupo Bimbo, one of the world’s largest bakery companies, has joined a raft of other food manufacturers in halting sales in Russia.

The Mexico-headquartered business said in a brief statement: “Due to the current international situation, and in line with the core values of Grupo Bimbo, our company has suspended sales of the Bimbo brand in Russia, as well as its new capital and marketing investments in that country.

“We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”

Grupo Bimbo entered Russia in 2017 with the acquisition of East Balt Bakeries and operates in the country through Bimbo QSR Russia in Moscow. The company confirmed it has 362 “associates” in Russia.

“Our priority is the wellbeing of our associates, and for that reason they will keep receiving support from us in this complex environment,” Bimbo said.

Bimbo, which reported group sales of MXN348.9bn (US$16.7bn) in 2021, added Russia accounts for less than 0.5% of total sales.

Two weeks ago, Bimbo QSR also halted operations in Ukraine. “Our main priority is the safety of our associates in our Dnipro, Ukraine bakery. We have suspended bakery operations and continue to closely monitor the evolving situation,” the company said in a LinkedIn post.

NestléPepsiCoUnileverDanoneMars and Mondelez International are among those to have announced they are to suspend their investment in Russia but maintain the manufacturing and sale of certain food products. Ferrero, the Italy-based confectionery and spreads maker, has suspended “non-essential activities” in Russia.

Others have decided to stop operations in Russia. Dairy giant Arla Foods has “initiated preparations to suspend its business in Russia”, a move that would “cover both its local operations and imports”.

On Friday, Norway-based food group Orkla followed in the footsteps of its Scandinavian peers Valio and Fazer by pulling the plug on its Russian operations.

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

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