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Worried about the soaring price of cooking oil? Here are big stores where you can get the cheapest oil in the country

HERE is what cooking oil costs in South Africa’s leading retailers. | File

HERE is what cooking oil costs in South Africa’s leading retailers. | File

Published Mar 28, 2022


Durban - First it was toilet paper, now it’s cooking oil. As the price of this liquid gold soars, panicked consumers are rushing to buy litres of it to ensure they have what it takes to keep on frying up a storm.

The oil rush is no joke. Retailer Oxford Supermarket was one of the places that reported people were sending car guards in to purchase five-litre sunflower oil on their behalf in fear of massive price increases. The supermarket was selling oil at R149 for 5 litres but it has now gone up to R190.

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However, panicked buyers are being reassured by experts: South Africa still has sufficient access to the edible oil. However, we all saw what happened to toilet paper in Covid-19 days, and panic buying, which will fuel shortages, is rising.

The price has been affected by the war in Ukraine, with almost 75% of sunflower oil exports from Russia and Ukraine, says trends expert and founder of Flux Trends, Dion Chang.

He says food security was already unstable before the rush on oil with the conflict at first affecting the availability of wheat and flour. Chang says the rising price of cooking oil will have a “ knock-on effect as foods and snacks that use sunflower oil will now also see prices rising".

While the cooking item is simple to overlook in your essentials, it forms the foundation of many local dishes, and hunting for deals while shopping can be daunting and overwhelming as there are so many options, varieties and brands from which to choose.

Here is a list IOL Wealth compiled for you from some of the country’s leading supermarkets comparing prices.

A comparison of cooking oil prices in South Africa
Retailers2L Canola oil2L Sunflower oil1L Extra virgin oil
Pick n PayR86.99R79.99R169.99

Game prices are:

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  • Canola 2L at R85.99
  • Sunflower oil 2L at R74.99
  • Serena Virgin olive oil 750ml at R99.99

* Please note that these prices were correct as at the time that this was published, and some of the oil may be out of stock.

And just when you think you can breathe, Chang says it does not end here. A large part of Russian exports is also fertiliser so a few countries in North Africa could experience famine as they will not be able to produce crops without these fertilisers, he says

“This will, in turn, affect food supply from there.”

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All of these challenges, Chang adds, were then exacerbated by fuel supply and the cost of petrol which would “cause further knock-on effects and we will be paying more for many things”.

Supply chains for a number of goods and produce have been affected since 2020. That year it was due to the pandemic, and in 2021 there were also issues with climate change that affected supply chains across the world.

“For example, in some places in the world, extreme heat caused tar to melt so trucks could not travel to transport products, and in others, extreme freezing of pipes impacted the manufacture of produce and the supply chain in terms of getting products to stores,” Chang says.

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In some countries there were even shortages of cottage cheese, so much so that appeals were put out for people to stop making cheesecake, Chang says.

It is 2022 and “we now have a triple whammy with the war in Ukraine and this will affect what you can get and how long you will have to wait to get it”.

IOL Wealth