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Supermarkets limit purchases of cooking oil due to Ukraine crisis

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With Ukraine being a major supplier of sunflower oil to the UK, supply chain issues have caused shortages and changed consumption patterns

Major British supermarket chains have limited the amount of cooking oil customers can buy, a move attributed to shortages and subsequent changes in consumer habits resulting from the conflict in Ukraine. According to the British food regulator, the former Soviet republic is responsible for a “significant proportionof sunflower oil supply in the UK.

Tesco, Morrisons and upscale chain Waitrose have all confirmed to the media that they have introduced a cap on the number of bottles of cooking oil a customer can buy.

To ensure that all of our customers can continue to get what they need, we have introduced a temporary purchase limit of three items per customer on products from our cooking oil range.“, Tesco said in a statement, reassuring customers that there are”good availability of cooking oils in store and online.

©AP/PA

Waitrose and Morrisons took a similar step but limited each customer to just two items.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Ukraine and Russia together are responsible for 53% of world trade in sunflower oil and seeds and 27% in wheat.

Following the military conflict, the price of sunflower oil in the UK jumped 60%, from £1,130 a tonne in February to over £1,800 in March, according to Mintec analysts. Oil shortages have prompted manufacturers and restaurants to change their recipes and replace them with other types of oil.

Shifts in consumption caused cooking oil prices, which had risen even before the start of the conflict in Ukraine, to soar when hostilities began. In early April, prices were 22% higher than a year ago, The Guardian reported, citing NielsenIQ analysis.

Read more

Leaders warn of risks of ‘unprecedented’ global food crisis

The urgent need to replace sunflower oil with other types of oil has prompted the UK Food Standards Agency to warn consumers of the increased risk of food allergies. In late March, the regulator said that “it is highly unlikely that the industry will be able to re-label products as quickly as oil substitutions might occur, which could lead to mislabeled products in the marketplace.

Meanwhile, the conflict in Ukraine isn’t the only factor contributing to cooking oil supply shortages. On Friday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced an export ban on palm oil, the world’s most consumed edible oil.

Considering that Indonesia accounts for more than a third of global vegetable oil exports, the move is expected to severely worsen the already tight supply of cooking oil around the world, with developing countries being the most affected.

RT

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