Europe: Store shelves empty of sunflower oil

“We limit purchases to three units per customer so that everyone can get what they need”, it says on the note the shop owner in Ashton, UK has hung up in his shop. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine leads to problems in supplying a variety of foods to store shelves around the world, writes New York Times.

Ukraine: The world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil

Food oil prices have risen around the world. Before the war, Ukraine was the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil. The conflict has now paralyzed the harvest. It does not help that Russia is also a major exporter: 58 percent of the world’s sunflower oil is produced in the two warring countries. 6 million tons in Ukraine, and 5 million tons in Russia.

Many countries have limited cooking oil in stock, and prices are rising on what is left. This has led to export restrictions in Indonesia and exacerbated the food crisis in East Africa.

Food prices are rising throughout Europe

“Suppliers are doing everything we can to keep costs down, but it’s inevitable that consumers will also have to pay more,” Kate Halliwell, a major player in the UK manufacturing sector, told the New York Times.

The food trade in Spain, Greece, Turkey, Belgium and other countries has limited cooking oil, and in several places purchases are limited so that not everything disappears from the shelves.

– Cooking oil is the new dope paper

Food prices are also rising in Norway.  But so far no restrictions have been introduced on buyers in stores that TV 2 is aware of.  Photo: magnus noekland / TV 2

Food prices are also rising in Norway. But so far no restrictions have been introduced on buyers in stores that TV 2 is aware of. Photo: magnus noekland / TV 2

Several possible cooking oils can replace the most popular frying oil. In Germany, the hoarding of sunflower oil is already underway, and on twitter, some already regret that they have had to replace the sunflower oil with rapeseed oil because a number of shameless people have hoarded.

– Cooking oil is the new dope paper, it is commented in the tweet below. They are aiming for hoarding of toilet paper, both in Germany and in other countries we know of, during the pandemic.

In Iceland, palm oil has been allowed to replace sunflower oil in several cases, and in the United States, more people are trying to get American farmers to grow soybeans, writes the New York Times. This may be a better solution, because due to the restrictions on cooking oil exports from Indonesia, there is limited palm oil on the market as well.

Norway is among the countries trying to replace sunflower oil with palm oil.

Norway allows for increased use of palm oil

Since 2014, most Norwegian retail chains have gradually chosen to replace palm oil with sunflower oil in several of their products. This has meant that well-known products such as Marie biscuits, Nugatti and Smash have had their ingredient list changed in the last eight years.

The attitude towards the Norwegian grocery chains has been strong. Rema 1000 in particular has been at the forefront of closing the doors for goods with palm oil.

The Rainforest Fund has worked to reduce the use of palm oil for many years. Department head Nils Hermann Ranum says that they are concerned that an increase in demand may lead to increased deforestation of the rainforest.

Encourages Norwegians to act as normal

Initially, the lack of sunflower oil affects large producers of popular products with sunflower oil in the recipes.

The Norwegian group under communications manager Kine Søyland told TV2 earlier in April that they have a good flow of goods in their stores. She encourages customers to shop normally.

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