'Please don't panic buy': Retailers impose limits on cooking oil purchases

The war has wreaked havoc on the supply of sunflower oil to the point that some retailers, such as Woolworths and Pick n Pay are now imposing customer limits on the product to prevent panic buying.

FILE: The demand for sunflower oil has also been affect by international behaviour as Indonesia has banned all palm exports for the time being, which means palm oil cannot be used as a substitute. Picture: © belchonock/123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - The knock-on effect of the Russian invasion of Ukraine can be seen in South African supermarkets through the raised price of cooking oil.

The war has wreaked havoc on the supply of sunflower oil to the point that some retailers, such as Woolworths and Pick n Pay, are now imposing per customer limits on the product to prevent panic buying.

John Perlman speaks to Morne Botes, the commercial director at Southern Oil, about how this change in supply is affecting the availability of oil in South Africa.

According to Botes, the price of cooking oil has been raised in order to balance the supply and demand, as Ukraine is the largest exporter of sunflower of oil and thus supply has been affected by the conflict.

The demand for sunflower oil has also been affected by international behaviour as Indonesia has banned all palm exports for the time being, which means palm oil cannot be used as a substitute.

Despite this, Botes says we will not have an issue with local supply of sunflower oil provided people are not panic buying the stock.

If we don’t panic buy then there will be sufficient stock for us locally. We produce 70% of our own oil and 30% is imported.

Morne Botes, Commercial Director at Southern Oil

This attempted panic buying is all too familiar for many retailers as shelves were emptied two years ago with the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers stressed about the availability of products with lockdown.

To find out more about oil supply and retailer restrictions, listen to the full interview below.