Yango Deli Courier

Source: Yango Deli

UK rapid grocery company Yango Deli – which is owned by Kremlin-linked tech giant Yandex – has resisted repeated calls to speak out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s largest technology company – which was banned in Ukraine in 2017 due to security concerns – launched its ultra-fast delivery service in 2019 in Moscow, and soon expanded into Tel Aviv and Paris. The 15-minute app-based grocer arrived in London in October last year.

Yandex – which operates Russia’s second-biggest search engine and ride hailing apps in several countries – is understood to have come under increased Russian government oversight and control in recent years. Shares in NASDAQ-listed Yandex fell by nearly 60% last week, wiping $7bn from its market value.

Asked for its view on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Yango Deli UK responded to The Grocer that it was “operated by UK company Deli International Limited and continues to operate locally”.

“We remain dedicated to providing high-quality ultra-fast grocery delivery to Londoners,” a company spokesman said.

A source within the company said it was “a nervous time for many” but there was an “overwhelming sense of unity” within Yango Deli UK. “Definitely nothing is being ignored, we are all horrified by the war and hope for peace as soon as possible,” they told The Grocer.

During the current conflict, Yandex has been criticised for hiding news of the invasion from its search engine results. Earlier this week the company’s former head of news wrote an open letter to employees saying: “It’s not too late to stop being accomplices to a terrible crime. If you can’t do anything, quit.”

Uber on Monday said it was removing three executives from the board of its joint venture with Yandex – Yandex.Taxi – as a result of Russia’s actions in Ukraine and was looking to “accelerate the sale of our remaining holdings”.

Yango’s ride hailing and rapid grocery arms are now facing boycott calls in several cities in which they operate.

Yandex deputy CEO Tigran Khudaverdyan on Wednesday posted on Facebook that: “What is happening is unbearable. War is a monstrous thing.”

“Many people demand from the company to immediately get on the armoured gear and loudly state their position,” Khudaverdyan said, adding that his priority was defending the company’s vital services.

“Taxi should come, goods and food delivered,” Khudaverdyan continued, “for these reasons, we can’t get on the armoured truck. I hope I made it clear enough.”

Yango Deli UK’s failure to explicitly condemn Russia’s invasion was “an unmitigated disaster for them” said Shore Capital retail analyst Clive Black.

“If they think it’s feasible keeping their head under the radar then that is naivety beyond belief,” he added. “Doomed is the term I would use. Doomed with capital letters.” 

Yango Deli offers around 2,500 SKUs on its platform, including from major brands such as Unilever, Heinz, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, as well as several challenger brands.

The Grocer contacted several of the brands listed, but did not receive a response at time of publication.

Many of Yango Deli’s rivals in the UK are proactively supporting Ukraine. Getir announced on Tuesday that it was sending five truckloads of essential supplies to the Ukrainian Red Cross to help with relief efforts. “The war in Ukraine has deeply shocked and saddened us all. Getir undoubtedly supports the people of Ukraine,” the company said.

Gorillas also joined the relief effort, allowing customers to donate money towards ‘help boxes’ which are being sent to the Ukraine-Poland border. The first truckloads of supplies arrived on Wednesday. “They will help those in need, impacted children and families,” said Gorillas CEO Kagan Sümer.