Tesco joins boycott of Russian-made vodka
Tesco has become the latest UK retailer to take Russian-made vodka off the shelf, in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.
The move came only days after the retailer said it was following UK government rules relating to trading with Russia.
Convenience retailer the Coop became the first major UK retailer to take a stand against Russian-made vodka announcing on Thursday that it would take Russian Standard vodka off the shelves “as a sign of solidarity with the people of Ukraine”
Morrisons joined in the boycott that day, followed by Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Asda and Waitrose on Friday.
Asda also pledged a £1m package of support for Ukraine, “aimed at helping families forced to leave their homes in the aftermath of the Russian invasion, as well as long-term support for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK.”
Meanwhile a Waitrose spokesperson said they were working with suppliers “to review products that have components of Russian origin and will be seeking to mitigate further exposure to the region.”
The supermarkets are marketing alternative brands such as Diageo’s Smirnoff (which is not made in Russia, despite it’s Russian-sounding name) Swedish made Absolut, France’s Grey Goose or American brand SKYY.
According to Statistica, the UK is Russia’s largest export market for vodka, exporting around USD$20million worth of vodka to the UK in 2020, ahead of Germany ($15.3m), Latvia ($12.9m), Kazakhstan ($6.9m) and Ukraine ($5.4m).
As previously reported by db Russian vodka brands are coming under intense pressure as a result of the boycotts, notably when the US government put sanctions on state-run liquor stores to stop selling Russian-made vodka. Analysis from Global Data found that 41% of people worldwide agree that they will boycott a brand that does not align with their personal beliefs or values.
In 2020, the global vodka category was valued at US$75.7 billion, the third largest spirits category after rum an whisky, an accounting for 11.3% share of the value of global spirits. However, in the world’s top ten vodka brands in 2019, only one, Pyat Ozar, from the Alcohol Siberia Group, came from Russia.