Which supermarkets are rationing cooking oil and why has the Ukraine war led to food price hikes?

There is no need for panic buying as supermarkets limit cooking oil purchases, ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery reports

Supermarkets across the UK have restricted how much cooking oil customers can buy due to supply-chain problems caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Tesco is allowed three items per customer while Waitrose and Morrisons have placed limits of just two items each.

Sainsbury's and Asda are not currently limiting oil in their stores.

In comments carried by the broadcaster, the British Retail Consortium’s Tom Holder said the move was a temporary measure “to ensure availability for everyone”. 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.

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

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.”

Tesco has become the latest supermarket to ration cooking oil. Credit: PA

Recent data showed cooking oil was one of a range of food staples to have its price increase. The price of cooking oils and fats went up 7% and is nearly a quarter more expensive than a year ago, the Office for National Statistics said on April 13. The Russian tanks and missiles besieging Ukraine are also threatening the food supply and livelihoods of people in Europe, Africa and Asia who rely on the vast, fertile farmlands of the Black Sea region known as the “breadbasket of the world”.

The warring countries produce around 14% of the world's wheat and account for almost one-third of global wheat exports.

80% of wheat used in the UK is grown domestically, according to the Federation of Bakers, although this does not mean Britain is insulated from global price hikes.