The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) has included two leading food corporations, PepsiCo and Mars, in the list of international sponsors of war, according to a statement by NACP’s press service.
Despite statements about the reduction of their business, the cessation of advertising activities and their productions, they continue to operate in Russia, pay significant taxes to its budget, thus support the economy of the aggressor country.
The first company, PepsiCo, produces soft drinks, juices, chips, snacks, dairy products and other food under the main brands Chester's, Chipsy, Lay's, Mirinda, Pasta Roni, Pepsi, Propel, Sandora, 7UP, Simba, Snack a Jacks, Sonric's, Tropicana, Agusha, Chudo, Slavyanochka, Sadochok, Sandorik, Mashenka, etc.
The company operates in Russia since 1974, has 19 factories, employs approximately 20,000 workers and 40,000 agricultural workers. In terms of net profit, PepsiCo is the fourth-largest company in the beverage and food industry in Russia.
PepsiCo increased its revenue in Russia during the first year of the full-scale invasion. Thus, the revenue of PepsiCo Holdings LLC in 2022 reached $2.59bn (or 176.5bn rubles), with a net profit growth of 333% to $525mn compared to 2021. Over $115mn (or 8.29bn rubles) in taxes were paid to the Russian budget.
While in March 2022, PepsiCo announced it would cease advertising and beverage production in Russia due its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it indeed ramped up the production of 7Up and Mirinda fizzy drinks several months later.
In March 2023, the production of Pepsi beverages also resumed. In addition, PepsiCo launched a new lemonade brand called Russian Gift in the country to replace the previous products.
The company also continues to produce and distribute other products, such as chips, snacks and dairy products. According to media reports, PepsiCo's Lay's crisps were found in the food rations of Russian soldiers.
The lack of sincere intentions to leave the Russian market is further evidenced by the fact that the company's career page lists over 580 open vacancies in Russia. Foreign companies relieve the Kremlin of paying unemployment benefits and related social problems by creating new jobs.
The second company, Mars, produces food products, most famously chocolate bars, as well as pet food, chewing gum, beverages, fast food, and canned sauces. Its main brands include Mars, Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, Bounty, M&M's, Whiskas, Pedigree, and Uncle Ben's. The corporation also owns a series of Wrigley trademarks.
Mars has been operating in Russia for over 30 years, investing $2.5bn in the country’s economy, creating more than 6,000 jobs and owning ten factories in Russia.
The company promised to reduce its business presence in Russia following the start of full-scale aggression. "Any profits from Russian business will be used for humanitarian purposes. The company will not import or export products," the company said in an official statement.
Nevertheless, the factories continue to operate in Russia with an increased revenue in 2022 compared to 2021. The revenue of Mars LLC reached $2.45bn (176.5bn rubles) in 2022, with a net profit growth of 59% to $377mn (27.2bn rubles), and over $93mn (6.76bn rubles) in taxes were paid to the Russian budget.
The Russian subsidiary of Mars LLC continues to post job advertisements for over 100 current vacancies on its personnel search website.
The NACP added the Chinese owner of AliExpress to the list of international sponsors of war. The profit of Alibaba.COM (RU) LLC in 2022 amounted to 16.3bn rubles (approximately $160mn).