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Tesco to limit cooking oil purchase as Russia-Ukraine war chokes UK food industry

NewsTesco to limit cooking oil purchase as Russia-Ukraine war chokes UK food industry

Teso’s move is the latest among the supermarkets to limit customers as the conflict chokes off the flow of sunflower oil to the UK. Morrisons and Waitrose have already limited purchases to two-a-person.

Waitrose said it was “closely monitoring the situation and working with our suppliers to ensure customers continue to have a choice of cooking oils”.

Sainsbury’s and Asda have yet to take any action.

Ukraine and Russia account for about 60 percent of the global production of sunflower oil.

In UK stores sunflower oil is one of the ‘big four’ vegetable oils, ranked behind palm, soya bean and rapeseed.

The shortage of sunflower oil has also resulted in price increases for palm, rapeseed and soya bean oil.

Sunflower oil, pressed from sunflower seeds, is often used in food as a frying oil and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient.

Earlier this month Edible Oils, which packages oil for 75 percent of the UK retail market, warned it had only a few weeks’ supply left.

Other issues such as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change are also understood to have had an impact on stocks and the price of sunflower oil.

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Tesco has introduced a buying limit of three bottles per customer across its entire cooking oil range, the Guardian has reported.

The UK’s biggest retailer says it has good availability of cooking oil but on its website a small number of vegetable oils are out of stock.

As well as being a cupboard staple at home, sunflower oil can also be found in hundreds of products, from ready meals to crisps, and biscuits to mayonnaise.

Tom Lock, founder of The British Snack Company, which makes hand-cooked crisps for sale in pubs, said that after potatoes, its other key ingredient was sunflower oil.

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Mr Lock told the publication: “Sunflower oil is the industry standard for snacks.

“It is impossible to get sunflower oil in any quantity. You just can’t get it.

“We’ve secured enough rapeseed to get us through to August, but we are paying three times as much for it as we were for sunflower oil a year ago.”

Mr Lock said it was inevitable that price increases would be passed on to the customer.

He said: “We’ve already done one price increase to our customers this year.”

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