You are currently viewing Reformulating to counteract the global edible oil crisis

Russia and Ukraine are key sunflower producers – together accounting for 55% of global supply. However, the Russian invasion has made farming, producing and shipping in Ukraine all but impossible, sending global prices soaring, while Western sanctions have made the supply crunch even more acute.

But switching to a suitable alternative is not always straightforward for producers.

Sunflower oil is mainly composed of polyunsaturated linoleic acid and monounsaturated oleic acid. The proportions of these unsaturated fatty acids can be controlled through careful cultivation and post-harvest processing. It also has a neutral flavour profile, high vitamin E content and a high smoke point.

These properties, along with its relatively low cost and the role it plays in creating baked goods and snacks, as well as attributes such as shelf-life, underpin its widespread use as an ingredient.

How to get through the current sunflower oil shortage

According to the specialists in biophysics, biochemistry and food engineering at Sagentia, a science-led approach is needed to overcome the reformulating challenges that are necessary to overcome the sunflower oil crisis.

The UK R&D consultancy has published guidance on how food manufacturers can tackle these and avoid market disruption.

The free-to-use guide​ highlights the benefits of a structured, methodical approach, along with information on the smoke point, health and flavour characteristics of 20 sunflower oil alternatives.

In fact, Maria Spinetta, F&B sector manager at Sagentia, says these characteristics must be assessed right at the beginning of considering a replacement change.