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VIDEO. “I’ve been looking for oil for days”: the shelves of many supermarkets in Ile-de-France are empty

If you are also struggling to find sunflower oil in your supermarket, know that you are far from alone. In this Carrefour de Claye-Souilly, in Seine-et-Marne (77), dozens of customers take turns blowing their shopping carts for over an hour. “Always not?” teases an elderly lady, followed by her equally destitute husband. “No, he’s still not here,” says a man in a video conference with his wife, pulling a pout on the phone screen. “It’s the third shop I’ve been to and I still can’t find one,” both tell Ghislaine, 49, and Camillia, 20.

And the scenario is similar in dozens of supermarkets in Île-de-France: Leader Price, Aldi, Leclerc, Franprix, Netto, Intermarché… Several of our internet users on our Instagram account sent us videos of empty shelves from Seine-Saint-Denis, Paris, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise and Yvelines. The security guard of the Aldi supermarket in the city confirms this: “We haven’t had one for a week. And there’s no point going to the Lidl next door, it’s the same. †

The reason for this lack? The war in Ukraine† Since France is 80% dependent on the two sunflower-exporting countries Ukraine and Russia, the current conflict in the area has had major repercussions so far. To the point where several brands have decided to ration the number of bottles of oil. Carrefour has chosen to sell a maximum of six bottles per customer. That is more than at Lidl in Plessis-Belleville, in the Oise (60), or the Intermarché de Sevran (93), which only sell a maximum of three liters. And the case is not limited to France.

As early as March, supermarkets in Spain started rationing the sale of sunflower oil. Because the oil supply is more difficult than usual, large retailers fear disproportionate purchases from (too) forward-looking customers in the event of a shortage or a price increase.

Several representatives have been hammering in recent days that there was no risk of shortage of any of the products placed on the market. As the group told us E.Leclerc this Thursday: “The brand has no plans to ration sunflower oil. Today there is no risk of shortage noted, there is stock. That is why we want to reassure consumers and invite them not to change their consumption behavior so as not to cause disruption.”

However, no response to a possible price increase. Unlike Michel Biéro, executive purchasing and marketing director of Lidl France, who announced that Parisian “an inevitable rise”. On the side of Carrefour, radio silence, “the group does not want to communicate”. The boss of System U, Dominique Schelcher, indicated for his part in the microphone of Radio Classique that there are currently “some precautionary purchases” but that one cannot speak of “complete shortage of supply”.

In late March, Ukraine’s agriculture minister estimated that the Russian invasion risked cutting the next grain crop in half. The Ukrainians “will sow whenever possible”, but only “50% to 75% of the areas” will be exploitable, emphasized Mykola Solsky, who also indicated that many peasants “joined the army or the defense area”, causing a job shortage.

The lack of oil is also noticeable among catering professionals. Tiffany, 20, sent by her caterer boss sighs: “We’re out of stock. And you can’t do anything without oil. For example, we have to replace our sauces there. We buy industrial mayonnaise, already made, we are crazy. †

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