There were empty shelves in the crisp aisles at Tesco and Asda in Cambridge this morning as shoppers rush to stock up on products made with sunflower oil. Panic buying has kicked in after the biggest cooking oil bottler for UK shops said it only has a few week’s supply of sunflower oil left. Edible Oils said Ukraine and Russia produce most of the world’s sunflower oil and the war has disrupted exports.
The company is now working 24/7 and upping production of rapeseed and other oils to put on the shelves when sunflower oil runs out. Many manufacturers are now having to rework their recipes to use rapeseed oil instead.
A notice on the Sainsbury’s website says: “Due to the current conflict in Ukraine, it may be necessary to substitute sunflower oil for other oils in some products. Rapeseed oil is the most likely replacement, but other oils may be used. Customer safety is very important to us, and we’ve taken care to ensure that there is no allergen risk from any of the substituted oils.”
Ukrainian farmers would normally be sowing seeds now for harvest in October and November but are unable to do so because of the Russian invasion.