Durban - Entrepreneurs can be counted on to come up with solutions to the worst problems, as this career path always demands that you be on your toes.
The staff of a bar in Germany, Munich, have found an ingenious and novel way to beat the world’s sky-rocketing cooking oil prices and shortages.
They let customers pay for their beer with sunflower oil to ensure plentiful supplies for frying schnitzels.
Ukraine and Russia account for roughly 80 percent of global sunflower seed oil exports, with supplies dwindling in many European countries, including Germany, since the former Soviet Union country invaded its neighbour in February.
Managers at the Giesinger Brewery, a brew-house and bar in the southern city of Munich, Germany, think they may have the answer, offering beer lovers a litre of their favourite brew for the same quantity of sunflower oil.
“The whole thing came up because we simply ran out of oil in the kitchen and that's why we have to be inventive,” the bar manager, Erik Hoffmann, told Reuters TV.
Bottles of rapeseed and sunflower oil have often been missing from supermarket shelves in Germany since the invasion of Ukraine, and many shops ration the number of bottles per customer.
“Getting oil is very difficult… if you need 30 litres a week and only get 15, at some point you won’t be able to fry a schnitzel any longer,” Hoffmann said, adding that customers have swapped 400 litres so far.
While a litre of beer costs about 7 euros (R122) in German pubs, a one-litre bottle of sunflower oil retails for about 4.5 euros (R76), making the offer tempting for many customers.
Customer Moritz Baller bought 80 litres of sunflower oil in Ukraine during a trip to deliver humanitarian aid, swapping his shipment for eight crates of beer for his birthday party.
“The campaign is cool,” he said. “We can get cheap beer and yes, Giesinger Brewery is also helped.”
In South Africa, cooking oil prices have also soared. Sunflower oil is nearly 40 percent more expensive than it was a year ago, according to Stats SA.