Supermarket oil crisis: Major stores impose rationing as fears grow over UK food security

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Supermarket oil crisis: Major stores impose rationing as fears grow over UK food security

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Russia’s invasion of its western neighbour has severely impacted fuel supplies, resulting in sky rocketing prices. Now the war is threatening to disrupt food deliveries and bring more misery to British shoppers. The UK relies heavily on Ukraine for its supplies of sunflower oil, but stocks are running low due to Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

With sunflower oil running out, shoppers have turned to buying olive and rapeseed oils as replacements.

This has led to unprecedented demand, forcing a number of Britain’s major food retailers to start imposing limits on purchases – both online and in-store.

Tesco is allowing three items per customer while Waitrose and Morrisons have placed limits of just two items each.

Meanwhile Iceland’s stores are limiting sales of two-litre and five-litre bottles of sunflower oil to one per customer, according to photos posted on social media.

Tom Holder from the British Retail Consortium said the restrictions are a temporary measure “to ensure availability for everyone”.

He said: “Retailers are working with suppliers to ramp up production of alternative cooking oils, to minimise the impact on consumers.”

The prices for cooking have risen sharply over the last month, burning more holes in UK shoppers’ pockets.

The Office for National Statistics said on April 13 that the price of cooking oils and fats went up seven percent and is nearly a quarter more expensive than a year ago.

Further analysis by research firm Assosia suggest a higher rate of inflation for the much sort after products.

According to their data, a one-litre bottle of own-brand sunflower oil has gone up by an average of 12p to £1.26 since January 2022 – an increase of more than 10 per cent.

Tesco said in a statement: “We have good availability of cooking oils in stores and online.

READ MORE: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s & Aldi have recalled popular food products

“If a customer is unable to find their preferred oil, we have plenty of alternatives to choose from.

“To make sure all of our customers can continue to get what they need, we’ve introduced a temporary buying limit of three items per customer on products from our cooking oil range.”

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “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.”

Social media users were quick to add their views on the topping, with some wondering what could happen next with global food supplies.

One asked: “Could we see a wider use of food rationing going forward?

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“How secure is the UK’s food system?”

Another commented: “People in the UK are so under prepared for the supply shocks and inflation.

“It’s already starting. Slow then fast.”

The war in Ukraine is threatening the food supply and livelihoods of people in Europe, Africa and Asia who rely on the fertile farmlands of the Black Sea region.

Russia and Ukraine grow roughly 14 percent of the world’s wheat and account for almost one-third of global wheat exports.



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