As the war in Ukraine has raged on for the past week, food retailers have mobilised their resources to support refugees fleeing Russian aggression.
As a result, the EU has estimated that four million Ukrainians are expected to leave the country. The UN estimates over one million have already crossed the border to Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, Russia and Belarus.
With military action escalating, the UK’s top grocers have supported the crisis through monetary donations, providing food and hygiene products and utilising their central European networks.
Discount grocer Aldi announced on Twitter that it will make a donation to Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. In a statement, it said: “We stand together with Aldi colleagues across the world and will be making a donation to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.”
However, the retailer hasn’t specified how much the donation was and how it will be distributed.
We stand together with Aldi colleagues across the world and will be making a donation to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. pic.twitter.com/MhAdHjfRLA
— Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) March 2, 2022
Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF) has donated £150,000 to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal to help support Ukrainian relief efforts.
The donation is expected to help displaced people in Ukraine and those fleeing to neighbouring countries with food, water, medicine, medical equipment and other essentials.
Commenting on the donation, Iceland managing director Richard Walker said: “I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering those in Ukraine are experiencing. People are losing their homes and their lives. It’s important to me, to the business and to our customers that we help.
“Through Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, we have donated £150,000 to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal to help with relief efforts.”
The discount retailer has been working with its colleagues in Europe to donate €10 million as a group.
Around €3 million has already been distributed to areas near the Ukrainian border, with the donation consisting of food, textiles and hygiene products for refugees. Lidl has also utilised its international network part of the Schwarz Group and worked with local aid organisations to ensure resources are distributed “as quickly as possible” to those displaced
The supermarket giant revealed its “shock” and “sadness” watching the events unfold in Ukraine, and has announced it is donating £250,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Appeal.
We’ve been shocked and saddened watching events unfold in Ukraine and want to help. We’re donating £250,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Appeal. pic.twitter.com/tLR5Q6scVa
— Morrisons (@Morrisons) March 3, 2022
As a result of the announcement, social media users have praised the grocer for its generosity, with one user tweeting: “Well done Morrisons, best supermarket in the U.K”.
The announcement comes as the Big 4 grocer revealed it is following in the footsteps of symbol group retailer the Co-op by announcing it will no longer sell Russian-made vodka as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. As a result, Morrisons has said it will be de-listing Russian Standard vodka.
However, it did not specify when this move will be implemented.
Marks & Spencer
M&S has donated a £1.5 million package to support the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and UNICEF to help children and families in need.
The donation constitutes an initial £500,000 donation to UNHCR with an additional £500,000 for matching fundraising across its global colleagues and double donations on Sparks transactions to support UNICEF. On top of that, the retailer will donate 20,000 units of coats and thermals for families in need totalling a further £500,000.
The Big 4 grocer announced on 2 March it will donate a £2 million package through its partner charity Comic Relief. This will help all Ukraine civilians, whether they are crossing the border or remaining in Ukraine.
Sainsbury’s explained the first £1.5 million will be immediately distributed and that customers’ donations through Nectar points will be matched by the grocer up to the value of £500,000. Donations will provide urgent needs like food, water, and medical support as well as long-term needs such as mental health, homelessness, children’s safety and ongoing violence against women and girls.
In a social media post, Sainsbury’s said: “Like the rest of the world, we’re shocked and saddened by the unfolding events in Ukraine and like so many of our colleagues and customers, we want to offer our support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine in a meaningful way.”
Like the rest of the world, we’re shocked and saddened by the unfolding events in Ukraine and like so many of our colleagues and customers, we want to offer our support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine in a meaningful way. pic.twitter.com/tRrnj1uiJ3
— Sainsbury's (@sainsburys) March 2, 2022
Tesco has begun supporting Ukrainian refugees by providing food, water and other emergency relief supplies through its distribution centres in Budapest, Bratislava and Prague.
The Co-ordination efforts have also extended to food banks in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to provide food aid to Ukrainian families, and the grocer has also removed all charges for UK customers wanting to contact family and friends in Ukraine via Tesco Mobile.
Waitrose owner John Lewis Partnership has donated £100,000 to the British Red Cross in support of their Ukraine Crisis Appeal.
The retailer has also pledged to match donations up to £150,000 – which will transfer into food, water, medicine, warm clothing and shelter.
“Today, the John Lewis Partnership is making a first donation of £100,000 to the British Red Cross directly in support of their Ukraine Crisis Appeal. This will help provide food, water, medicine, warm clothing and shelter to those whose lives have been torn apart by this invasion,” it said.