War is hell. And hell hath no fury like a nation devoid of delicious food, which is what Russia is about to become thanks to a ban ordered by President Vladimir Putin.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced that “all imports of meat, fish, and fruit, vegetables, milk, and milk products” from the U.S., European Union, Canada, Norway, and Australia would be banned for a year. The controversial move is supposed to be a retaliation against Western countries, who imposed economic sanctions on Russia after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine. So what happens when your country stops food from crossing its borders? For one, price hikes will rise beyond their already inflated amounts, and shortages may occur. Restaurant and cafe owners may lose their businesses, and sushi may be the first to go. Apparently raw fish is so popular in Russia that it’s on the menus of Italian and French restaurants, but it’s often made with soon to be banned Norwegian salmon. And that is not a sacrifice that I would be willing to endure, no matter my patriotism. If sushi goes, I go.
Franchises are also taking a hit from the ban, as Papa John’s is freezing expansion plans and considering importing cheese from Argentina, which would be 15% more expensive. Even chains as crappy as McDonald’s has reported losses in Russia, but that’s mainly due to its Chinese meat suppliers using expired meat. A major restaurant group also states that, “This is an extremely difficult situation for the restaurant market as about 50 percent of ingredients are imported.”
Russians aren’t the only ones suffering from the ban, as Russia imported $15.8 billion in food from the European Union last year. Australian meat suppliers will have to find new markets, as well as Norwegian Salmon suppliers and European dairy farmers. American food producers haven’t reported significant losses yet, but the ban is still fresh. All in all, it seems like this move isn’t doing anybody good, least of all the people of Russia. And if Russians are anything like me, blood will run in the streets if they don’t get their sushi back.
(Image: Mark III Photonics/Shutterstock)