The most popular brands of carbonated drinks continue to boil around the long-term departure from the Russian market of the most popular brands of carbonated drinks, which may still have unexpected consequences. So, on December 8, Rospotrebnadzor announced the start of an inspection into the appearance of “suspicious Coca-Cola” in some stores in Moscow and the Moscow Region, which was suspected to be counterfeit. We can talk about bottles of 2 liters, sold, in particular, in the stores of the Svetofor network. According to the photo I have, on the label the manufacturer indicates Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia LLC, and the production date is October 25, 2022. RBC reported on the presence of bottles dated October 5 and November 3 in Svetofor.
The product seemed suspicious for a reason. Coca-Cola itself announced the suspension of business in Russia after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine. In June, the company’s beverage manufacturer and distributor in Russia told Reuters it was in the process of “running out of stock.” And the Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia company has been called Multon Partners since the end of June and now produces cola-flavored carbonated drinks under the Dobry brand. Coca-Cola HBC confirmed to RBC that they have stopped production and sales of all The Coca-Cola Company brands in Russia. As my interlocutors in the soft drinks market point out, if you want to fake a well-known brand of carbonated drinks in a plastic bottle, it is relatively easy to simply print labels in a print shop according to a sample and organize a spill. According to them, it is much more difficult to imitate aluminum cans. But in general, my interlocutors do not see much point in counterfeiting drinks, primarily because of the low profitability of the product. In addition, it is extremely difficult to find opportunities for the sale of counterfeit products, especially in the context of a growing proportion of large chains that regularly audit suppliers. But the buyers of Svetofor, as my sources say, can be “very independent from the central office and have their own relationships with suppliers.” Players do not expect a sharp increase in counterfeit products, noting that the number of proven cases of fakes this year is “calculated in units.” On the other hand, conscientious market participants may have cause for concern. Perhaps the supporters of tightening control over the circulation of certain product groups, who like to refer to the presence of counterfeit goods, will want to take advantage of the “suspicious cola” story. Consumers, on the other hand, do not seem to care too much about fakes. In the comments under the post of Rospotrebnadzor in the Telegram channel, the service is asked to check the network that canceled cosmetics orders made with discounts due to a “technical failure”.