Shortage of sunflower oil: what alternatives for consumers?


OUR ADVICES – Olive or rapeseed? Opinions differ between nutritionists and economists.

Sunflower oil has become the new yellow gold in recent weeks. In question, shortages of supply linked to the war in Ukraine, the largest exporter of sunflower oil in the world.

The oil shelves of supermarkets are currently empty, especially at Carrefour and Casino. According to data from analyst Nielsen, availability rates for one-liter bottles of private label sunflower oil were between 86% and 100% last January. Today, they amount to 2% in the stores of the Carrefour and Casino groups, against 49% at Leclerc and 92% at Intermarché. Despite this general rate, some sections of the Intermarché brands are out of stock, such as in Nice where a sign informs customers that due to “of conflicts in Eastern Europe, the supply of sunflower oil remains complicated“. Consumers are thus limited to buying one bottle of oil (rapeseed or sunflower) per family and per day, with the exception of olive oil.

Olive oil for nutritional…

Nutritionist Charlotte Debeugny also recommends olive oil rather than sunflower oil. Contrary to popular belief,it is perfect for cooking in the pan, it must be chosen extra-virgin and soft enough to avoid having the taste in the dishes“, she says. Grapeseed and peanut oils can also be used for frying. “Rapeseed oil is best used for cakes», adds Charlotte Debeugny.

Other possibilities include butter or palm and coconut oils. “But watch out for saturated fats that raise cholesterol. The maximum recommended daily intake is 30 grams for men, compared to 20 grams for women“recalls the nutritionist. She adds that “for the salad, it is better to use walnut or hazelnut oil“, provided you do not cook it, at the risk of seeing certain undesirable compounds appear. This is also the case with linseed oil,not to heataccording to the instructions on the bottle.

… and rapeseed oil for the wallet

In terms of prices, all the oils have soared since January. According to figures from Nielsen, the one-litre Isio 4 bottle went from 2.93 euros in January to 3.17 euros at the end of March (+7.5%). Fruit d’or oil rose 5.6% from 3 euros to 3.19 euros. Puget olive oil also experienced a significant increase, from 7.39 euros to 7.89 euros between January 1 and March 27 (+6%). “In addition to inflation, olive trees have been victims of global warming for ten years, which mechanically increases the price of olive oil.“says Bruno Parmentier, economist specializing in agricultural and food issues.

He therefore recommends rapeseed oil as the first alternative to sunflower oil, also praising the “french production“. According to him, the global shortage of sunflower oil is expected to last until early 2023. The World Bank predicts “high prices until 2024“. “In France, farmers are likely to produce more sunflower oil, the harvest of which is scheduled for October, which could regulate demand in France.“says Bruno Parmentier.

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