Brand Safety Work & Wellbeing

KitKat breaks with Russia as Nestlé responds to pressure

By John Glenday | Reporter

Nestle

|

War in Ukraine article

March 24, 2022 | 3 min read

Nestlé has joined a western brand exodus from Russia by withdrawing its KitKat and Nesquik brands in protest at the Ukraine war.

The Swiss food multinational has chosen to operate a skeleton service in the country by selling essential foods only. Nestlé had come under intense pressure to act after being singled out by president Volodymyr Zelenskyy for conducting business as usual under an increasingly authoritarian and unpredictable Russian regime.

KitKat

Nestlé has now bowed to growing pressure

Nestlé had sought to cling on in Russia after first canceling all advertising and capital investments in the country, before later halting shipments of non-essential products such as Nespresso coffee capsules and San Pellegrino water.

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Until now, however, the brand had continued to sell existing stock, arguing that it had a duty of responsibility to its 7,000 Russian employees. That led to a #BoycottNestle movement to trend on Twitter, which ultimately led Nestlé to bow to the inevitable.

Explaining its volte-face, a Nestlé spokesperson said: “As the war rages in Ukraine, our activities in Russia will focus on providing essential food – not on making a profit.

“While we do not expect to make a profit in the country or pay any related taxes for the foreseeable future in Russia, any profit will be donated to humanitarian relief organizations. We stand with the people of Ukraine and our 5,800 employees there.”

Global brands including McDonald’s, L’Oréal and Apple have scuttled behind a new iron curtain descending on Moscow, which has already seen Accenture and IPG jump ship.

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