UFOP: No need to panic buy and hoard edible oil
German private households bought around 220,000 metric tons of edible oil in 2021. Their preference was for rapeseed oil, with a market share of 37 percent, followed by sunflower oil, 30 percent, and olive oil, just less than 19 percent. According to investigations conducted by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (mbH), private households purchased just less than 82,000 tons of bottled rapeseed oil in 2021. This was just about 10 percent of total vegetable oil produced for food purposes and only 2 percent of total rapeseed oil production.
With war raging in Ukraine and the particular importance the country has to the global supply of sunflower oil, panic purchases are emptying retail shop shelves. The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e. V. (UFOP) has stressed that there is no reason to panic because people can switch to edible rapeseed oil, which is of at least the same quality and can be used in hot or cold recipes. The new supply of rapeseed oil was already sown this past fall and is now growing on approximately 1 million hectares of land in Germany alone as temperatures are rising. In the EU-27, rapeseed is grown on approximately 6 million hectares. According to the UFOP, a total harvest of approximately 18 million tons of rapeseed would yield around 7.2 million tons of rapeseed oil.
At the same time, around 10.8 million tons of rapeseed meal for feeding would be obtained in rapeseed processing, replacing the corresponding volume of soy imports for animal feeding. Rapeseed meal has replaced soybean meal in dairy-cow feeds, the UFOP has underlined, also with a view to the critical debate currently reemerging on the use of cultivated biomass in biofuels.
The association has emphasized that supply of edible rapeseed oil is fundamentally secure and well beyond demand, adding that panic purchases emptying shop shelves and causing food retailers to introduce rationing are completely unnecessary.
According to the German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE), German oil mills produced more than 4.7 million tons of vegetable oil in 2021, including just over 4 million tons of rapeseed oil. This was around 234,000 tons more than the previous year. About 839,000 tons of the rapeseed oil produced went into the production of food (edible oil, mayonnaise, etc.). Rapeseed oil was also used to produce animal feedstuff, as well as in the oleochemical industry and energy sector.