Finished for packing – Kommersant newspaper № 52 (7253) from March 28, 2022

The shortage of packaging material, which food companies are experiencing against the background of the devaluation of the ruble and disruption of logistics, is exacerbated. The largest supplier of these products in Russia, Tetra Pak, will temporarily abandon the production of packaging for wine and beverages with a capacity of two liters. In response, beverage manufacturers intend to raise prices, which should reduce consumer demand and reduce the use of packaging.

Tetra Pak has notified customers in Russia about a temporary reduction in the range of food packaging due to a shortage of a number of components, Kommersant sources among food and beverage producers said.

According to them, the company will temporarily abandon the two-liter package, and also suspend the production and sale of packaging for wine and soft drinks, except juices.

Production of packaging for socially important products, such as milk, will be increased, Kommersant sources reported.

Tetra Pak calls its plant in Lobnya, near Moscow, the largest enterprise in Eastern Europe for the production of packaging for liquid food products. According to the company, more than 500 Tetra Pak lines have been installed in Russia. Among the consumers of these products are PepsiCo (“Village House”, J7, “Favorite”), Coca-Cola HBC (“Good”, Rich), Danone (“Prostokvashino”, Alpro) and others. No comments were provided by these companies.

Problems with the purchase of food packaging from producers worsened after the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, followed by the devaluation of the ruble and disruptions in logistics (see Kommersant, February 28). According to a Kommersant market source, a number of companies, fearing a shortage, have stockpiled packaging for several months.

According to another Kommersant source, Tetra Pak has less than a month’s worth of raw materials left in Russia. According to him, the company should soon agree to purchase cardboard with one of the local factories, it is still necessary to find an alternative to several components that will probably have to be imported from China.

Tetra Pak confirmed to Kommersant that it has focused on the production of packaging materials for socially significant products, including milk and baby food. A representative of Ekoniva Group of Companies says that Tetra Pak fully provides the company with packaging for all socially significant products.

A Kommersant source in grocery retail notes that federal dairy suppliers report sufficient stocks of Tetra Pak and are working out alternative packaging options. However, there are reports from local companies of a possible shortage of Tetra Pak, so some of them plan to switch to plastic packaging and film, he said. Vkusville said that although suppliers still have enough packaging, they are looking for alternatives. Lenta said it saw no preconditions for supply disruptions. Alphabet of Taste has the main share of soft drinks and wine in Tetra Pak – imports, where there are no problems with packaging. Some Russian network providers are considering switching to the packaging available in the current configuration, they added.

According to a Kommersant source in the industry, two-liter packaging is the lowest-yielding format for any beverage producer, and is the main product for increasing market share in physical terms.

Kommersant’s interlocutor in retail adds that some beverage producers are already canceling discounts and raising prices, which should lead to a drop in demand and allow the packaging to remain for a longer period.

Wine producers have already reported packaging problems. Krasnodar-based Soyuz-Vino, which has products in Prisma Pak and Tetra Pak, reported disruptions to part of the network’s range, a retail source told Kommersant. Kommersant did not respond to Soyuz-Vino. Alexander Stavtsev, head of the WineRetail information center, adds that such packaging is presented in the cheapest segment, and from 2020 many of these drinks can not be called wine, as they were produced from imported wine materials or raw materials of non-grape origin. According to WineRetail, the share of Russian wine products in Tetra Pak accounts for about 5-7% of the turnover of the wine category of large chains.

The Ministry of Agriculture told Kommersant that the issue of providing food companies with packaging materials is being worked out jointly by interested departments and the industry community.

Anatoly Kostyrev, Alexei Polukhin

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