Crisp and oven chip brands forced to change recipes as UK faces major disruption to sunflower oil imports

Crisp and oven chip brands forced to change recipes as UK faces major disruption to sunflower oil imports

World News

The taste of your favourite crisps, oven chips, and cereal bars is set to change soon, as manufacturers are reworking recipes amid a sunflower oil shortage caused by the war in Ukraine.

Edible Oils, which is the leading bottler of cooking oil for UK retailers, says it only has a few weeks of sunflower oil stock left.

Ukraine and Russia supply 80% of the world’s supply, and the conflict has caused major disruption to imports.

Follow live updates on the war in Ukraine

Kim Matthews, commercial director at Edible Oils, told the BBC: “From a UK consumer perspective, sunflower oil is the biggest oil. It’s used more than anything else. It’s a fast-moving situation.

“We’re still trying to see if we can get some more but it’s looking very tight.”

Mr Matthews added that the shortage could last more than a year.

He said: “At the moment, Ukrainian farmers should be sowing the seeds now for 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.”

As a result of the shortage, manufacturers of products including crisps, chips and cereal bars have been forced to alter their recipes and replace sunflower oil with refined rapeseed oil.

A boy eating crisps from a package. Pic: iStock

Image: Companies have been forced to alter their recipes for crisps, chips and cereal bars. Pic: iStock

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Food Standards Agency issues warning

Many have been unable to change the label in time, which has prompted The Food Standards Agency (FSA) to issue a warning.

In a statement, the FSA said: “The majority of the UK’s sunflower oil comes from Ukraine and food businesses here are reporting that supplies of sunflower oil are likely to run out in a few weeks with some businesses already experiencing severe difficulties.

“This has led to some food manufacturers urgently replacing sunflower oil with refined rapeseed oil before being able to make the change on the label.

“We are therefore advising that food products labelled as containing sunflower oil may have instead been produced using refined rapeseed oil and consumers should look out for additional information being provided by retailers and manufacturers to stay informed.”

The FSA added that the risk of this substitute is “very low” and allergies to rapeseed oil are rare.

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

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