After oil, mustard is missing from the shelves


Sun flower oil. While it has become almost impossible to obtain sunflower oil in France, mustard has also begun to become scarce on supermarket shelves. What are the alternatives to making french fries or mayonnaise? Here are our tips.

[Mis à jour le 9 mai 2022 à 15h04] Be warned, sunflower oil isn’t the only rare oil on your supermarket shelves. It is time for the mustard to disappear little by little. In fact, mustard seed producers struggle for production for various reasons. Among the largest producers, Canada experienced a drought in 2021 and saw its mustard seed stocks melt. Russia, another important supplier, is suffering financial and economic sanctions due to its presence in Ukraine and can no longer export its seeds. What about France, famous for its Dijon mustard? Seed production has also decreased dramatically. The result: a significant increase in prices. So don’t be surprised to see mustard becoming increasingly scarce on shelves or at exorbitant prices, so it’s time to restock if the oil runs out, as well as mustard.

Ukraine is the largest producer of sunflowers in the world, and the price of sunflower seeds is rising significantly and is expected to continue for several reasons:

  • Either because sowing cannot be done in large numbers (lack of fields but above all in manpower);
  • Either because the sea and land routes for its export are closed, or closed by the Russian army (especially in the Azov and Black Seas), saturated or difficult to use.

Are we heading towards a long-term shortage? Where can you find sunflower oil? At any price ? What can you substitute with it to season salads, make mayonnaise, cook French fries or make a cake? We explain everything below as well as in our detailed profile.

You struggle to find sunflower oil and are looking for substitutes for your cooking recipes. Know that you are not the only one: olives, rapeseed, peanuts whose consumption has also increased sharply: up to +78% for rapeseed oil according to Emily Meyer, an expert in consumer products at the Iri Institute and surveyed by Le Parisien. But what is the best oil to turn to? It all depends on the recipe and your tastes:

  • To season a salad or make mayonnaise for example, any kind of oil is possible. It all depends above all on your taste in this matter because olive oil, sesame oil or coconut oil gives a more pronounced flavor than, for example, rapeseed. Otherwise, why not try grape seed oil?
  • Linseed, walnut, or hazelnut oils can also be used in salads. But be careful, it should never be heated!
  • For cooking, you will need to choose an oil that can withstand large increases in temperature. For cooking in a frying pan, choose a neutral-tasting rapeseed oil that will be more economical than olive, coconut, or even avocado oil. Peanut oil may be an option, but watch out for allergens. The taste will also be more pronounced.
  • Which olive oil to choose? If you do not want the obvious taste of olive oil in your dishes, choose a mild olive oil and preferably extra virgin olive oil.
  • Butter can also replace vegetable oils but its consumption should be measured to reduce the intake of saturated fats that cause cholesterol. “The maximum recommended daily dose is 30 grams for men, versus 20 grams for women,” identifies Charlotte Debogny in Figaro Columns.
  • For cakes and other sweet recipes, the Internet is full of recipes without oil and butter, which are often replaced by zucchini or apple compote.

Can rapeseed oil replace sunflower oil for frying?

For fried foods, on the other hand, the situation becomes more complicated. Oil frying forces very high temperatures (up to about 200 degrees), which requires a stable oil. This is the case of sunflower oil or the so-called special frying oil that contains large amounts of sunflower oil. However, this is not the case for other oils, including rapeseed oil, which is less resistant to high temperatures. The bottles also often specify that they should not be used hot, in no way to the point of being smoked because the omega 3 and 6 they contain cannot handle this heat. Too high the temperature of vegetable oils will cause the spread of toxic substances, “aldehydes”, which are considered to be carcinogenic. Therefore the use of these oils for frying, even rapeseed oil, is especially prohibited with one exception: HOLL rapeseed oil, specially formulated for this purpose and which can be preserved at over 200 degrees in the same way as HO sunflower oil. On the other hand, you can choose olive oil, which is more expensive but will provide a very nice crunch, limiting the temperature rise to 160 degrees if possible. The final solution is peanut oil that also withstands high temperatures. But beware in this case of allergens! Finally, if the taste doesn’t bother you, animal fat still has a solution: duck, goose, or lard with beef fat will do.

Is there a shortage of sunflower oil, what are the stocks?

There is no shortage at the moment but real difficulties in restocking and supply have been observed in equal measure among wholesalers as in supermarkets. In France, today, there is no shortage of daily consumption and there will not be until summer. There is pasta. For sunflower oil, our stocks last until June. Consumers are starting to overstock, they are the ones causing the shelves not to be restocked,” Michel-Edouard Leclerc said in early April on BFM TV in early April on BFM TV. The penchant for stockpiling is also felt among the heavyweights in the sector. Echos, the Lesieur brand, the leader in France, claims that consumption has jumped 40% in a few weeks, as a result, in a few weeks, supermarket shelves have emptied very quickly, usually a stable market and we can not double our production capacity In three weeks. Adapting our production takes time, warned the Avril Group (Lesieur, Puget), in an interview with CheckNews for Liberation. However, we have enough stock to continue our delivery until the next harvest in October.” Don’t panic!

Where can I find sunflower oil?

Distrust! With the growing shortage, prices have gone up in many places. Online, you can even find sunflower oil bargained for exorbitant prices on sites like Le Bon Coin or Amazon. The best thing is to keep an eye on the inventory in your supermarket, to tell store managers about possible supplies…and have a little luck and patience! In many supermarkets, quantities have been rationed: often no more than six bottles per customer, while border supermarkets have also seen an influx from neighboring countries, notably Germany, where valuable oil is also sought. One last tip: To reduce the effects of this deficiency, consume only what you need and, if possible, prepare for other oils when possible.

How much is sunflower oil?

With the increase in the price of sunflower seeds and supply difficulties, the price of a liter of sunflower oil has already been hit hard by the heat: according to INSEE, the price of a ton of sunflower oil on the market rose from $1,500 last February to more than $2,250 in March, a record! The outbreak is expected to continue. At the moment, the consequences are not really visible in stores because stocks are still based on old prices. What will happen this summer and especially next winter? Here we address the great unknown of this crisis situation. To give you an idea, you should know that you can still find cans of sunflower oil for about 2 euros per liter at an affordable price and about 3 to 4 euros for the big brand or so-called premium references. You still have to find it on the shelves. Speculation has already spread on the Internet, since cans of oil can be found at exorbitant prices on online selling sites: from 10 to 25 euros per liter of sunflower oil on Amazon or Ebay!

Will the shortage of sunflower oil affect the prices of french fries in restaurants?

For restaurateurs, these sourcing difficulties seem like a real headache. Restaurants used to serve fried foods (fries and also tempuras, donuts or fried fish such as carp and French fries in Alsace) should be particularly affected. Because those who say supply difficulties and shortages also say high prices! Sunflower oil prices have already jumped, after sunflower seed prices have doubled in just a few weeks. As restoration craftsmen, We know how to find substitutes, especially with beef or duck fat. We can also choose apple gratin or sauté, which fast food cannot do”, explains Jean Terlon, Vice President of UMIH (Union des Métiers et des Industries Hôtelières) interviewed by La Dépêche. Thus, to change the menu or increase certain dishes. On the other hand, fast food has no choice and should be forced to increase their prices.The whole strategy will include making this increase as painless as possible, by keeping call prices on inexpensive menus or flagship products such as children’s menus and increasing them on higher quality products.

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