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Beyond Meat Hit by Russian Counter-Sanctions

Supplies of the U.S. plant-based meat alternative have been disrupted for months.

Beyond Meat had been selling goods in the Russian market. Sascha Steinbach / EPA / TASS

U.S. fake meat manufacturer Beyond Meat has fallen foul of Russia’s counter-sanctions on Western food imports, the Kommersant business daily reported Thursday.

Imports of Beyond Meat’s plant-based meat alternatives have been suspended due to a dispute over whether the products violate Russia’s sweeping ban on Western agricultural products.

The food embargo was introduced in 2014 in retaliation to EU and U.S. sanctions against Moscow over the annexation of Crimea.

Kommersant reported that Russian customs officials believe Beyond Meat products fall under the embargo and have halted all imports. A spokesperson for distributor Alianta Group confirmed it had suspended supplies to Russia, citing the dispute with Russia’s customs authorities as well as a global container ship deficit.

The customs service has refused to release Beyond Meat products into Russia since at least July, when legal proceedings over the matter were launched, the paper said.

Russia’s counter-sanctions resulted in a ban on almost all Western-made agricultural products, such as cheese, meats, fruits and vegetables, from being imported into Russia. The embargo has helped Russia’s agricultural industry develop rapidly in recent years, as local alternatives popped up to replace previously-imported goods. 

But economists say the embargo has pushed up the cost of food in supermarkets and contributed to higher prices for consumers at the same time living standards have been falling.

Several Russian companies have also developed plant-based meat alternatives in a bid to capture a slice of the fast-growing market.

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