Sunflower field

Source: Unsplash

Supply of sunflower oil has been disrupted since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February

Morrisons has drafted in Croatian oil brand Čepin to fill shelf gaps amid the ongoing shortage of sunflower oil.

The retailer today confirmed the move, after one shopper posted a photograph of a bottle of Čepin sunflower oil to Twitter, claiming they had found it on shelf at Morrisons.

A spokeswoman for Morrisons told The Grocer Čepin was a “new brand we have introduced to ensure that customers have availability and choice through this difficult trading period on cooking oils”.

The brand is named after the village in north-east Slavonia in which it is made. According to its website, the Čepin factory produces 32 million litres of refined oils per year.

The move follows weeks of disrupted supply to cooking oils, triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine – the world’s biggest sunflower producer.

Research by NielsenIQ indicates out-of-stock cooking oils have equated to over £18m in lost sales for UK retailers since the start of the year, with availability dropping as low as 78% last month.

Fmcg giants – including the likes of PepsiCo and Unilever – have reformulated their products as a result of the ongoing shortage of sunflower oil. McCain, for instance, last week announced it would transition its UK-made products to a blend of rapeseed oil and sunflower oil from 1 July.

However, the availability of sunflower oil looks set to improve in the coming weeks.

Sunflower oil producer KTC last week confirmed it was “actively offering sunflower oil at a normal scale” for the first time since the late-February invasion thanks to increased sunflower planting elsewhere in Europe and the resumption of some exporting by Ukraine.