Waitrose rations cooking oil to two bottles due to Ukraine war

Now Waitrose rations cooking oil to two bottles per customer as sunflower oil shortage deepens due to Ukraine war

  • Waitrose has rationed the sale of cooking oils to just two per customer 
  • The supply of sunflower oil has been severely hit by the war in Ukraine 
  • Ukraine accounts for about 80 per cent of the UK’s sunflower oil imports 
  • Many staple products will be made with alternatives such as rapeseed oil
  • Britain has been warned it has only a few weeks’ supply of sunflower oil left 

Waitrose has started to ration the amount of cooking oil customers can buy as the sunflower oil shortage deepens due to the war in Ukraine.

Signs have been put on shelves limiting customers to just two bottles across all cooking oils in Waitrose shops and online from today.

A Waitrose statement said: ‘We want to ensure customers continue to have a choice of cooking oil so we are asking them to buy no more than two units each.’

‘To help more customers get the goods they need you can only order two from the sunflower oil category.’  

The shortage comes as the war in the east hits the production of sunflower oil, with Ukraine accounting for about 80 per cent of the UK’s imports.

Supermarkets nationwide have been scrambling around for alternatives to sunflower oil for many of their staple food products. 

Waitrose have taken to rationing the sale of cooking oils to no more than two bottles per customer, after the war in Ukraine hit global supplies

Sainsury’s have put signs up in their shops today advising customers that some products may substitute sunflower oil with rapeseed oil most likely

The UK is reported to weeks away from a shortage of sunflower oil due the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Sainsbury’s has said it will be substituting products where sunflower oil is a main ingredient with alternatives.

‘We are working closely with our suppliers to make sure customers continue to have cooking oils to choose from, including olive oil, vegetable oil and rapeseed oil,’ a Sainbury’s spokesperson said. 

The UK gets about 80% of it’s sunflower oil from Ukraine (above). Products containing sunflower oil include crisps, mayonnaise, bread, and biscuits.

Ukraine is one of the leading producers of sunflower oil, but the war has disrupted production, with famers unable to work fields and supply chains unable to get the product to global markets

It comes as the UK’s biggest cooking oil bottler, Edible Oils, last week warned that Britain had only a few weeks’ supply of sunflower oil left.

Supermarket crisp shelves have been pictured almost bare as panic buying has set in. 

Pictures at Tesco and Asda stores in Cambridge yesterday showed empty crisp shelves. 

PepsiCo, the manufacturer of Walkers, has confirmed it is ‘temporarily’ switching from sunflower to rapeseed oil in the production of its crisps – insisting customers will not be able to taste any difference. 

Other products containing sunflower oil include mayonnaise, bread, and biscuits.

Around 80 per cent of the global supply of sunflower oil comes from Ukraine and Russia, but the ongoing conflict has disrupted supply

Bare shelves in the crisps aisle of a Tesco in Cambridge earlier this week amid a shortage of sunflower oil

Food manufacturers have been left searching for alternative ingredients to negate the current shortage. Pictured: A Tesco supermarket in Cambridge

The Co-op said this week that it was working closely with suppliers to find alternatives such as rapeseed oil. 

Prices of rapeseed oil have already risen ’50 per cent to 70 per cent’ in recent weeks, with businesses likely having to pass the price onto consumers if a downturn does not arrive soon. 

Kim Matthews, commercial director at Edible Oils, told the BBC last week: ‘At the moment, Ukrainian farmers should be sowing the seeds now for the harvest in October and November. 

‘Clearly that’s not going to happen…. we’re probably going to miss the season so we could be impacted for 12-18 months.’

He said it is unclear as to when supply will return to normal, pre-war levels. 

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