DairyReporter.com contacted several of Europe’s largest dairy manufacturers, including Nestlé, Danone, FrieslandCampina, Arla Foods, DMK and Lactalis, in an attempt to gauge the impact of the unrest in Ukraine on their operations.
Providing the clearest response, Nestlé, which markets a wide range of food and beverage products in Ukraine including infant formula brands, Gerber, Nan, and Nestogen, said that it is “monitoring the situation in Ukraine very closely to ensure that our 4,500 local employees are safe.”
“The safety of our employees and their families is paramount to Nestlé,” corporate spokesman Philippe Aeschlimann told this publication.
“We have three factories and one business centre in Ukraine. At present all three factories continue to operate and our employees at our Kiev headquarters as well as at our business centre are working normally,” he said.
“Not affected” by unrest
Mirroring Nestlé’s response, Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina said that despite exporting “very little to the Ukraine” it is keeping a watchful eye on how the situation in Ukraine progresses.
Meanwhile, Arla Foods said that its dealings have not been affected by the troubles in Ukraine.
“Arla Foods has a limited export to Ukraine and no employees there, so we are therefore not affected by the current unrest in that country,” said company spokesman, Theis Brogger.
Danone and German dairy DMK failed to respond to our request for comment, and French dairy manufacturer Lactalis, which boasts two production sites in Ukraine, said that it does not “want to make any comment on the situation.”
Pro-Russian forces and Russian troops and are reportedly in control of Crimea, a region in southern Ukraine with a large ethnic Russian population.
Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of troops to the peninsula earlier this month following the fall of Ukraine’s former pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled Kiev after weeks of bloody pro-European Union (EU) protests.
Both the US and EU have urged Putin to pull Russian troops back to bases.In a further attempt to defuse the situation in Crimea, both are also reportedly preparing to implement economic sanctions on Russia that could include trade restrictions.
Nestlé, FrieslandCampina, Arla Foods all declined to speculate on the potential impact of these sanctions on their operations.
“…we do not comment on speculations such as the ones on sanctions,” said Nestlé spokesman Aeschlimann.
Arla spokesman Brogger added: “We have no comments on sanctions and Russia when there are currently none such implemented that affect us. If that changes, we’ll talk. Until then it’s all theoretical and we only comment on reality.”
FrieslandCampina, which operates two manufacturing sites in Russia and exports cheese from the Netherlands and yogurt from Germany into the country, offered a similar response.
It said: “Political unrest and wars are never good for business in general. We keep a close watch on developments and in case of a changing situation we will respond in a suitable manner.”