Sunflower oil sales leap 27% as war in Ukraine prompts stockpiling

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War-torn Ukraine is the world’s largest manufacturer of Britain’s favorite cooking oil

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ales of sunflower oil have leapt 27% since the beginning of the month due to shortages of the cooking oil caused by the war in Ukraine, the world’s largest producer.

Scarcity has pushed shoppers to stockpile Britain’s favorite frying oil as customers “fill up their cupboards”, according to market research giant Kantar. It reported “increased demand’ and rising prices.

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Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “The war in Ukraine has increased public awareness of supply pressures and there was evidence of some stocking up as consumers prepared for limited availability along with higher prices.”

Sales of vegetable oil have grown “even faster”, Kantar said, up by 40% in April as consumers look for alternative products.

Ukraine is the largest exporter of sunflower oil in the world and accounts for 46% of the $7.42 billion (£5.83 billion) global market.

Supermarkets Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons have all introduced restrictions on sales of sunflower oil in recent weeks, only allowing customers to purchase two or three bottles in one shop. Iceland has gone further, limiting shoppers to one bottle. Sainsbury’s and Asda have no current limits.

McKevitt said: “Last weekend several supermarkets introduced restrictions on cooking oil purchases as concerned consumers filled up their cupboards.

“The combination of rising prices and increased demand saw the cooking oil market grow by 17% over April.”

Rising sunflower oil prices are contributing to grocery inflation running at 5.9% this month. That is the highest level since December 2011, according to Kantar. The average household will now be exposed to a potential extra £271 per year in shopping costs as the cost of living crisis in Britain boils over.


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