Greece, Spain, Italy start limiting purchase of wheat & sunflower oil

In a significant development, supermarket chains in Greece have said, they have begun restricting how much flour and sunflower oil customers can buy, following a rise in worries on supplies stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The conflict has led to a surge in prices since both Russia and Ukraine are key suppliers of wheat and sunflower oil.

Supermarket chains have adopted similar measures in Spain and Italy with AB, Sklavenitis, Kritikos and My Market saying, they had limited online and in-store purchases of flour and sunflower oil.

AB said it has placed a limit of 3 bags of flour and 3 bottles of oil per customer.

“The reason for the cap on these products is only precautionary, as our customers are concerned about the war in Ukraine,” said an official at AB supermaket chain on the condition of anonymity. “We want to ensure we will be able to serve our customers’ needs in the future too.”

Earlier this month, Greece’s agricultural minister had said, the country imports around 250,000 tonnes of soft wheat from Russia and Ukraine, which is around 30% of its total wheat imports.

The government has asked suppliers, such as supermarkets and other food retailers, to declare stockpiles of products including fertilisers, animal food, grains, flour, sunflower and other vegetable oils.

“Flour and sunflower oil are the two products which, apart from energy, the war has affected more than anything else,” said Greece’s Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis. “There are already shortages throughout Europe.”

Spanish supermarkets have limited the purchase of sunflower oil to a few bottles per person.

Many supermarkets in Italy have also adopted similar measures.

In the coming week, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis is set to chair a meeting to discuss potential shortages due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

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