Why is there a shortage of cooking oil right now?
- Chip shops
- Care homes
- Catering businesses
Palm oil supplies have also been hit hard, despite consumers turning to palm oil as an alternative to conventional cooking oil. This is because Indonesia’s supplies have been heavily limited so as to protect domestic stock. As a result, on Thursday 28th April, they announced an export ban. This therefore impacts the prices of other oil types which then has a negative impact, financially, on the customer, no matter which type of oil they choose.
How is the food industry coping with cooking oil shortages?
The shortage of sunflower oil in particular has hit retailers and the food industry hard. Not only is it difficult for suppliers, wholesalers and supermarkets to keep on top of the issue, it’s also hard for businesses, such as chip shops, takeaways, caterers and even care homes, to keep operating.
Other organisations will also face difficulties when it comes to food preparation and cooking, including hospitals. So what has the food industry done to help relieve some of the pressure? According to The Guardian, food manufacturers rely heavily on sunflower oil, especially, to make hundreds of foods, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Fish fingers
Thanks to the shortage, food manufacturing giants have had to change their go-to recipes at short notice, instead switching to alternatives such as rapeseed oil. As a result, however, it has meant that companies have had to also change their packaging to ensure it details the correct ingredients as reference for the consumer.
Companies have also called for the government to relax their biofuel mandates in order to move crops away from fuel tanks and increase vegetable oil supplies in the process. Biofuel has been used to help cut our reliance on fossil fuels and, as a result, it now accounts for 15% of the global demand for vegetable oil, hence why food manufacturers are wanting to divert the focus, temporarily, away from sustainable fuel efforts. Although, there has been no indication that this will be happening any time soon.
How are supermarkets managing cooking oil shortages?
- Tesco – three bottles per person
- Waitrose – two bottles per person
- Morrisons – two bottles per person
- Iceland – one bottle per person
When will cooking oil supplies return to normal?
According to The Guardian, Gary Lewis who works for oil importer KTC Edibles, claims that the cooking oil shortage is likely to last until at least the end of the summer season. The relief is only likely to come thanks to rapeseed oil crops becoming readily available to buy. However, he did say that’; “there may be some more supplies of EU and Argentine sunflower oil on the market in the next few months, but it will still be limited”
The VigourTimes reported that Kantar, a data analytics and brand consulting company, claimed consumers are now paying up to 20% more for one litre of vegetable oil in 2022 and 16% more for sunflower oil in the same year.