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European glass packaging leader restarts production in Ukraine after Russian military attack

2023-07-26 foodingredientsfirs

Tag: Ukraine European glass packaging leader


Glass packaging manufacturer Vetropack is “cautiously” ramping up operations at its Gostomel plant in Ukraine after the production facility was severely damaged during a Russian military attack last February. 

Production is expected to resume this month after more than a year of shutdown amid growing domestic demand for white glass packaging for food and beverage products. The company began heating up and filling one of its two remaining furnaces last month and plans to utilize the other furnace soon in line with the rising demand.


The priority at the facility near Kyiv is to protect the workforce as the war in Ukraine rages on. The company has taken steps to prepare for potential new crisis scenarios, engineering energy backups to ensure supply in the event of blackouts.

Meanwhile, a foundation set up by Vetropack is disbursing funds to Ukrainian colleagues affected by the war.

Demand heats up
Vetropack expects demand for glass packaging for food and drinks to increase in 2023 by around 7% compared to 2022.

“The effect of this rising demand can be observed nationwide,” Pavel Prinko, general manager of Ukraine and Republic of Moldova Business Unit at Vetropack, tells PackagingInsights.

“However, it is crucial to examine the overall situation in a nuanced manner. While we continue to witness a decline in demand for beer and sparkling wine, this decline is being offset by increased demand for food and carbonated soft drinks.”

“The substantial rise in demand for food and soft drinks has shaped our decision to prioritize the activation of the furnace with white glass in order to meet this demand as quickly as possible.”

The longer-term demand for glass packaging will continue to fluctuate based on war-related developments.

“However, what remains certain is the enduring presence of the food and beverage industry and the significant role that glass will continue to play,” continues Prinko.

“This holds true both at a national and international level. It is important to keep in mind that our plant in Gostomel not only plays a significant role for the domestic market, it’s also a recognized partner for our international customers.”Glass furnace destroyed by Russian military attack.One of Vetropack’s three glass furnaces was destroyed during a Russian military attack last year.

Back to work
Before the outbreak of the war, Vetropack produced a variety of glass packaging with three furnaces and eight production lines at its Ukrainian site.

However, the company had to begin shutting down production for safety reasons after the war broke out and, a short time later, one of its three furnaces was destroyed beyond repair.

Due to this damage, Vetropack was forced to cut around two-thirds of the approximately 600 jobs at the site. The European glass packaging supplier has now hired 139 employees – primarily former staff of the site – to resume production.

The site is prepared for all possible emergency scenarios as its workforce partially returns. The company has remodeled the plant’s electrical distribution system and installed additional generators.

Corresponding contingency plans have also been put in place for possible gas supply disruptions.Vetropack suffers damage at its Ukraine glass production plant.Worker safety remains the priority at the Gostomel plant near Kyiv as production gradually increases and the war in Ukraine continues.

Community support
Vetropack set up a foundation in the summer of 2022 to support employees who were seriously injured or whose property was destroyed as a result of the conflict. Support also goes to the families of employees who lost their lives due to the war.

Employees from other locations, business partners and customers donated money for this purpose, with CHF 960,000 (approximately US$1 million) collected in a few months.

“Employees from other locations, business partners and customers donated money to this cause, with donations from Vetropack employees being doubled by the Vetropack Group until the end of September,” Prinko tells us.

In the first few months, around CHF 960,000 (approximately US$1M) was donated. At the start of this year, the foundation began disbursing the first funds. By April 2023, Vetropack had already supported more than 50 employees.

We recently spoke to packaging supplier O-I and Innova Market Insights about the environmental sustainability credentials of glass packaging and its key applications within the food and beverage industry.


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