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Amid sunflower oil shortages, Unilever is replacing rapeseed oil in some recipes

Amid sunflower oil shortages, Unilever is replacing rapeseed oil in some recipes

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) – As a sunflower oil shortage ripples through the global food industry, Unilever (ULVR.L) said on Thursday it has changed some of its recipes so that it can replace canola oil instead, a move that could help save the money as input costs rise.

Ukraine typically accounts for about half of the world’s exports of sunflower oil, one of the most widely consumed edible oils, and Russia’s two-month invasion of its neighbor has brought Ukrainian shipments to a standstill.

As such, food manufacturers are in the process of replacing sunflowers with alternatives such as canola or soybean oil.

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Unilever, which makes Knorr bouillon cubes, Magnum ice cream and Hellmann’s mustard, considers edible oils the “worst-affected commodity sector” in which it trades. Sunflower oil is listed as an ingredient in some of Unilever’s products, including Knorr sauces and Wall’s ice cream such as Cornetto ice cream cones.

“One of the things Unilever is good at is adjusting our formulations so that we can take advantage of various cost increases,” CEO Alan Jope said during a phone call with journalists to discuss earnings.

“Since the supply of sunflower oil from Ukraine has become very tight, we have been able to switch quite well to other oils, such as rapeseed oil.”

During an earnings report on Thursday, Unilever also announced an 8% price hike in the first quarter and warned that more gains were on the way due to inflation and the war. read more

France gives companies up to six months to update product labels to reflect recipe changes if they replace sunflower oil. read more

Like the food industry, the $500 billion global cosmetics sector is struggling with the effects of the war as producers use grain alcohol and organic beets to make perfumes, and sunflower oil to make cosmetics – all important crops from Ukraine. read more

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Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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