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Ukraine designates PepsiCo, Mars as 'international war sponsors'

by Dinara Khalilova September 1, 2023 5:16 PM 3 min read
A photograph shows a US multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation PepsiCo plant in Domodedovo, outside Moscow, on March 9, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's National Corruption Prevention Agency added major food corporations PepsiCo and Mars to the "international sponsors of war" list on Sept. 1.

Despite pledging to reduce their businesses, suspend advertising activities and production in Russia, the companies continue to work in the country, "paying significant taxes to its state budget, thereby supporting the aggressor's economy," the Agency wrote.

PepsiCo is an American multinational producer of food, snacks, and beverages sold in over 200 countries. The company's brand portfolio includes Lay's Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker, SodaStream, and others. Lay's chips were reportedly found in Russian soldiers' food rations.

In terms of net profit, PepsiCo is the fourth largest company in the given industry in Russia, with 19 factories and around 20,000 employees.

Over the first year of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russian division of PepsiCo increased its net profit by 333% compared to 2021, reaching $525 million, and paid over $115 million to the state budget, according to the report.

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PepsiCo has more than 500 vacancies in Russia advertised on its website. "By creating jobs, foreign companies free the Kremlin from the burden of unemployment benefits and related social problems," the Agency argued.

Meanwhile, Mars reportedly received $377 million in net profit from its Russian business in 2022, which was 59% more than the previous year. The company has over 100 jobs available in Russia.

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These numbers contradict Mars' pledge to scale down its Russian market after the all-out war against Ukraine started. "Any profit from Russian business will be used for humanitarian purposes. The company will not import or export products," the corporation wrote in a statement cited by the Agency.

Mars is the U.S.'s fourth-largest privately owned company, with its most well-known brands being Mars, Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, Bounty, M&M's, Whiskas, etc.

The Ukrainian authority added that Mars had worked in Russia for over 30 years, invested $2.5 billion in the country's economy, and opened 10 factories on Russian territory.

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