PepsiCo, Mars declared ‘international war sponsors’ in Ukraine
Photo: EPA

The national agency on corruption prevention (NAZK), Ukraine’s anti-graft office, has designated PepsiCo and Mars, leading food corporations, as international war sponsors, it said in a statement on Friday.

Both corporations continued operating in Russia, "paying significant taxes to its budget [and] thereby supporting the economy of the aggressor country" despite claiming to have reduced their Russian business, NAZK said.

PepsiCo, which produces popular soft drinks, juices, crisps, snacks and other food products, has been operating in Russia since 1974, with 19 plants, around 20,000 employees and 40,000 agricultural workers.

In terms of net profit, PepsiCo is the fourth largest beverage and food company in Russia. Its revenues in the Russian market increased to USD 2.59 billion last year, and the company paid more than USD 115 million in taxes 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.

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.

Mars produces food products, most famously chocolate bars, as well as pet food, chewing gum, beverages, fast food, and canned sauces. It has been operating in Russia for more than 30 years, has invested USD 2.5 billion in the economy of the aggressor country, created more than 6,000 jobs and has 10 factories in Russia.

Mars’ factories continue to operate in Russia, having seen its revenues in the market increase to USD 2.45 billion last year and paid more than USD 93 million on taxes to the Russian budget.

The list of international sponsors of war is a reputational tool. The designated companies are also included in the World-Check database, which keeps track of high-risk individuals and organisations and is used globally to identify and manage financial, regulatory and reputational risks.

Previously, such well-known companies as Metro, Procter & Gamble, Auchan Holding, Bonduelle and, most recently, Unilever and Bacardi were also listed.