Following the start of the invasion of Russian forces in Ukraine in February, Lithuanian supermarkets decided to phase out Russian and Belarusian goods. As reported by Lithuanian LRT, it has been difficult for most supermarkets to replace certain goods, with some exceptions.
Russian and Belarusian goods can still be found in many Lithuanian stores, but retailers claim this is because old stores are being sold out, adding that no new goods are being imported from Russia or Belarus.
Lithuanian comedian and social media personality Oleg Šurajev published a photo on his Facebook profile, showing a sale of kettles in Russian packaging in one of supermarkets of Vilnius.
IKi supermarket chain representative claims these goods were immediately taken off the shelves.
«It was an irregular item, which means it was sold for about a month. And that product was made in China, but with a Russian packaging because it was primarily intended for the Russian market,» said Vaida Budrienė, head of communication at Iki.
In spring of this year Lithuanian stores phased Russian and Belarusian goods from shelves – mostly strong alcoholic beverages. Replacing these goods caused no problems.
It did prove difficult to find a replacement for Russian backing soda, however.
«We are now displaying more Ukrainian goods, eg sweets,» LRT was told by Budriene.
Aibe store chain representative said it was no easy task – replacing Russian and Belarusian goods. Nevertheless, they did manage to find new suppliers fairly quickly.
«We were looking for suppliers, we were even lucky enough to find a short-supply product like baking soda. We buy it from Italy now and we buy salt from Poland,» says director of Aibė commercial department Žydrė Baskutytė.
In some cases supermarkets still sell goods produced by Russian-owned companies who have changed owners. One example if Georgian mineral water producer Borjomi. Its owner, Russian Alfa-Grupp, dropped the controlling package of Borjomi factory. After that Borjomi mineral water returned to store shelves, says Baskutytė.
According to ISM University of Management and Economics associate professor Lineta Ramonienė,
the percentage of Russian and Belarusian goods in shelves was already small even before February 2022. One exception is salt.
«If you look at the share of Russian and Belarusian products in supermarkets, the percentages were very small. We can assume that Lithuanians prefer western products or Lithuanian-origin goods, especially when it comes to food,» says Ramonienė.
According to LRT, representatives of Lithuanian chain stores note they have no plans to bring back Russian and Belarusian goods on shelves.
The full article in English can be found here: https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1807655/lithuanian-supermarkets-phased-out-russian-and-belarusian-goods