Empty shelves in Penwortham's Tesco Superstore as Ukraine shortages hit

There were empty shelves in the Tesco Superstore in Penwortham today as shortages due to the war in Ukraine hit supplies of essentials such as cooking oil.

By Aimee Seddon
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 4:06 pm

The Penwortham store displayed notices to customers apologising about the cooking oil shortages, and announcing a three item limit.

Tesco stated: “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.”

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The Tesco Superstore in Penwortham had empty shelves today as Ukraine shortages hit the UK.

Supermarkets across the UK have placed limits on how much cooking oil customers can buy due to supply-chain problems caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Waitrose and Morrisons placing limits of just two items each, according to the BBC.

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

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Richard Walker, Iceland’s managing director, said his shops were having to ration sunflower oil to one bottle per customer.

Signs in the Penwortham store announcing the national three item limit Tesco has introduced.

“It is not as frenzied as the toilet roll panic buying from a couple of years ago, and we are managing to maintain an offer,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But yes, we are limiting purchases and we’ve moved into smaller packs to allow existing stocks in the market to service more customers.”

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

The Penwortham store is not the only local supermarket that will feel the effects.

On April 13, the Office for National Statistics said the price of cooking oils and fats went up 7% and is nearly a quarter more expensive than a year ago.

Iceland’s Mr Walker told Today: “If you look at commodity prices, sunflower oil has gone up 1,000% in terms of the commodity cost in the market, palm oil (up) 400% and then there is things like wheat, 50%, fertiliser, 350%.

“These are all unintended consequences of the war in Ukraine that is affecting supermarkets.”