Sainsbury’s will be rebranding its Chicken Kiev meals as Chicken Kyiv, after hoppers took to social media to urge UK supermarkets to rename the ready meal in solidarity with Ukraine.
M&S said it will not be making the change, as it “prioritises” aid over symbolic gestures.
The spelling of Kiev is associated with the Russification of Ukraine as it was the capital’s Soviet-era name. Kyiv is the Ukrainian spelling that was established after the Soviet period in 1991.
“Is it time that Chicken Kiev is renamed Chicken Kyiv? How about it Sainsburys, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons? #ukraine #chickenkyiv” a user shared on social media.
Is it time that Chicken Kiev is renamed Chicken Kyiv?
— Dirk The Daring UK (@DirkTheDaringUK) March 2, 2022
Another user called out all the UK major supermarkets saying “Kiev is the Russian name for the city.”
— YorkshireFlyer (@YorkshireFlyer) February 27, 2022
Currently, Sainsbury’s has been the only grocer to change the product’s name to “Chicken Kyiv”.
While announcing its plans for Ukraine aid, the retailer added: “We are also re-naming ‘Chicken Kiev’ to ‘Chicken Kyiv’ and the new packaging will be available in the coming weeks.”
However, Marks & Spencer have rejected changing the name to Kyiv, as it aims to “prioritise” aid over symbolic gestures.
“Chicken kiev’ has been in use for over 100 years and has been recognised by our customers since M&S brought the product to the high street in the 1970s,” an M&S spokesperson said.
“Marks & Spencer will always use the Kyiv spelling whenever and wherever we are talking about the Ukrainian city.”
However, a social media also took to Twitter questioning M&S’ reasoning, explaning the grocer has “lots of shops in Moscow”.
Aaah. I’d completely forgotten that @marksandspencer has lots of shops in Moscow. This may explain its reluctance to rename its iconic Chicken Kiev as Chicken Kyiv
But that would make it an even more meaningful gesture…
— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) March 3, 2022
Waitrose and Asda have also confirmed they have no plans to alter the product name to Chicken Kyiv, following calls on social media.
The news comes as the war in Ukraine has entered its eighth day, with Russian forces taking control of key city Kherson and residential areas in the Northwest of Kyiv being bombed.