21 May 2022, by Victoria Séveno
Almost three months after Russia invaded Ukraine, shoppers in the Netherlands can breathe a sigh of relief as sunflower oil has finally returned to supermarket shelves – albeit at a significantly higher price.
Vegetable oil finally returns to shelves in Dutch supermarkets
As Europe’s largest importer of Ukrainian sunflower oil, experts within the Dutch food industry were concerned that the Netherlands could face a severe shortage of sunflower oil. These concerns quickly resulted in shoppers across the country rushing to their local supermarket to stock up on this key cooking ingredient.
As concerns grew and the war in Ukraine continued, supermarket shelves were stripped bare and people across the country found it increasingly difficult to get a hold of any kind of vegetable oil. Now, over two months since experts first sounded the alarm, it appears as though sunflower oil has finally returned to most Dutch supermarkets.
Price of sunflower oil doubles in the Netherlands
Many supermarkets have also lifted any restrictions on the purchase of sunflower oil, but shoppers will now face a new hurdle when trying to stock up on cooking oils: the price. According to MVO – the representative of the Dutch oils and fats industry – and CBL – the umbrella organisation for Dutch supermarkets – prices are now up to two times higher than before the “sunflower oil crisis.” This will also lead to higher production costs for a number of other foods, such as margarine and baby food.
While the immediate panic buying appears to have passed, MVO has warned that the country continues to face a sunflower oil shortage. While some supplies are still being imported from Ukraine, Indonesia’s recent decision to halt all exports of palm oil – a key alternative to sunflower oil – has added additional pressure to the international market for cooking oils.