Widespread Boycott of Freia Chocolate in Norway Over Mondelez Russian Operations

Widespread Boycott of Freia Chocolate in Norway Over Mondelez Russian Operations

Norwegian iconic chocolate manufacturer, Freia, is facing a sweeping boycott after numerous leading Scandinavian companies, including airlines Norwegian and SAS, the Norwegian Tourist Association (Den Norske Turistforening) and several others, announced they would not be purchasing their products. All of these companies are significant customers, and their combined withdrawal represents a significant impact on chocolatiers business. This signifies a comprehensive movement within Norway’s business and consumer sectors against companies with ongoing operations in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. The fallout from this action will undoubtedly be closely monitored by both local and international corporations.

The boycott stems from concerns over Freia’s parent company, Mondelez, maintaining substantial operations in Russia, where it employs around 3,000 staff. Mondelez, which has owned Freia since 1993, continues its business activities in Russia over a year after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Norwegian supermarket chain Coop has also vocalized its criticism. It has sought a meeting with Norwegian Trade Minister, Jan Christian Vestre, to discuss how the Norwegian authorities wish companies and consumers to act towards firms on the black list of Ukraine’s corruption monitoring agencies.

The Norwegian Football Association has also boycotted Freia products, as have several other companies, such as Vy (formerly the state railway NSB), and Travel Retail Norway, which operates duty-free shops at several of the country’s major airports.

The loss of the Norwegian Tourist Association as a customer, a significant buyer of the Kvikk Lunsj chocolate bar since the 1960s, is seen as a considerable blow to Freia. The Kvikk Lunsj bar, popularized as the favorite snack of Norwegians on hikes, sees each citizen consuming an average of nine bars annually.

Adding to the growing list of companies refusing to sell Freia products, the following have also suspended sales:

– Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)

– Strawberry Hotel Chain

– Norwegian Airlines

– The Norwegian Football Association (NFF)

– The Norwegian Tourist Association (DNT)

– The Railway Company SJ

– Classic Norway Hotels

– Elkjøp (owned by Currys PLC)

Freia’s exclusion from events hosted by the Norwegian Football Association is another significant loss. The company’s confectionery will not be sold at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo, which seats 28,000 spectators and has been the venue for countless games and concerts each year.

“This has major implications for the Tourist Association,” says Dag Terje Klarp Solvang, spokesperson for the association, to the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. Mondelez, in response to the boycott, stated that it particularly regrets the decision of the Tourist Association.