Supermarkets limiting cooking oil: Which supermarkets are limiting cooking oil in Scotland amid cooking oil shortage?

Cooking oil is the latest product to be affected by supply chain issues.
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Supermarkets across the UK have placed limits on how much cooking oil customers can buy due to supply-chain problems caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Here’s why supermarkets are introducing limits and which ones might affect you in Scotland.

Why are supermarkets limiting cooking oil purchases?

Most of the UK's sunflower oil comes from Ukraine, with the restrictions applying to that product as well as olive and rapeseed oils at some supermarkets.

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Mr Holder from the BRC said retailers were "working with suppliers to ramp up production of alternative cooking oils, to minimise the impact on consumers".

Recent data showed cooking oil was one of a range of food staples to have its price shoot up, with the price of cooking oils and fats going up 7% and now being nearly a quarter more expensive than a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics.

"If you look at commodity prices, sunflower oil has gone up 1,000% in terms of the commodity cost in the market, palm oil (up) 400% and then there is things like wheat, 50%, fertiliser, 350%,” Iceland boss Mr Walker told Today. "These are all unintended consequences of the war in Ukraine that is affecting supermarkets."

Food Standards Scotland have also warned consumers that some products labelled as containing sunflower oil may instead contain refined rapeseed oil due to the conflict in Ukraine

Here, cooking oil is limited on shelves in a Sainsbury's store in Kent. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA WireHere, cooking oil is limited on shelves in a Sainsbury's store in Kent. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Here, cooking oil is limited on shelves in a Sainsbury's store in Kent. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
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“Retaining consumer trust remains an absolute priority for both organisations and we are urgently working with the food industry and other partners to ensure labels on food where sunflower oil has been replaced by refined rapeseed oil are made accurate as soon as possible," said Food Standards Agency chief executive Emily Miles in a joint statement with Food Standards Scotland.

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Which supermarkets are limiting cooking oil in Scotland?

Tesco is allowed three items per customer, while Waitrose and Morrisons have placed limits of just two items each, according to the BBC.

Supermarkets across the UK have placed limits on how much cooking oil customers can buy due to supply-chain problems caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA WireSupermarkets across the UK have placed limits on how much cooking oil customers can buy due to supply-chain problems caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Supermarkets across the UK have placed limits on how much cooking oil customers can buy due to supply-chain problems caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

In comments carried by the broadcaster, the British Retail Consortium's (BRC) Tom Holder said the move was a temporary measure "to ensure availability for everyone".

Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland supermarkets, said his shops were having to ration sunflower oil sales to one bottle per customer.

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"It is not as frenzied as the toilet roll panic buying from a couple of years ago, and we are managing to maintain an offer," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "But yes, we are limiting purchases and we've moved into smaller packs to allow existing stocks in the market to service more customers."

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

However, not all supermarkets are enforcing limits. For example, a Sainsbury's spokesperson said they have no plans to introduce limits.