Toulouse: will restaurateurs run out of oil?


the essential
The war in Ukraine is causing sunflower oil stocks to collapse. Without reservations, Toulouse’s restaurateurs are worried. Small businesses and brands are the main hit

French fries, cakes or hamburgers, sunflower oil is the basis of many delicious dishes. In the kitchen or to be incorporated directly into the recipe, many restaurants in Toulouse use the extraction of the sunflower. But the recent war in Eastern Europe has upset the stocks. Ukraine is a major exporter of sunflower oil (just ahead of Russia).

The conflict blocked all deliveries, much to the chagrin of the restaurateurs. While some had large reservations before the conflict began, others are more in the process of adapting. This is the case of the “O Fait Maison” restaurant. “It’s really a hassle to find it. We go shopping every day, but there’s more. Sometimes we go there several times a day, ”admits the restaurant waiter.

Small retailers are the main victims

On supermarket shelves, stocks are empty. For the retail brands of catering professionals, such as Métro or Promocash, rationing is foreseen in order not to run out of reserves. In his brand called “Toulouse Burger”, Abdoulaye cares about oil reserves. He especially needs it to cook his fries. “In the wholesale market we are entitled to a single can or a few liters per person per day. Everything is limited, we don’t know when it will stop. Prices are also rising, it’s a problem ”, says the restaurateur from Toulouse.

Smaller retailers in particular are hit hardest. For large franchises, chefs can count on the support of large suppliers who still have abundant stocks. The “Au Bureau” restaurant on the outskirts of the Pink City is lucky enough to be able to take advantage of group purchases.

A long-term shortage?

“Fortunately we have solid suppliers who allow us to be supplied without difficulty,” admits the manager of the brewery. Don’t worry, this also applies to McDonald’s restaurants in central Toulouse. Michel Réglat, franchisee of several fast-food restaurants, admits that his oils come “from the central region of France”. Thus, its restaurants will have the possibility to stock up more easily.

What worries restaurateurs addicted to sunflower oil in Eastern Europe is above all the length of the war and the upcoming failed harvests. This is the case of “L’Entrecôte” in rue de Jean Jaurès. Based in the hypercentre, the brand serves no less than 800 meals in one day. And on the plate, fries are part of the menu. But after sunflower oil stocks drop, the L’Entrecôte teams are worried about cooking their chips. “Much of the European demand comes from Ukraine. If the harvest, scheduled for April, does not materialize, there will be a huge shortage next November ”, explains Thomas de Roaldes, general manager of“ L’Entrecôte ”.

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