french fries

South Africa may experience a potentially severe shortage of French fries in the coming months. Image via Pexels

SA’s slap chips and fried chicken prices next in firing line amid Ukraine war

You could see yourself paying more for your favourite fast-food meals due to the increase in sunflower oil prices.

french fries

South Africa may experience a potentially severe shortage of French fries in the coming months. Image via Pexels

The demand for all types of oils and fats is increasing, while locally and internationally supply is under pressure. This could see the retail prices of your favourite fast-food meals potentially cost you more as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has started affecting oil prices. In addition, panic buying, which has reportedly started in South Africa out of fear of food price increases, may also play a role.

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With Russia being the key supplier of sunflower oil to Europe (which South Africa depends on for oil) – and with the sanctions between the two regions in place – kotas, slap chips, fried chicken, samosas and many other meals that require deep frying could go up.

According to Business Insider, Potatoes South Africa has revealed that the impact of the increase in cooking oil within the food industry is expected to realise in the processing industry on frozen potato produce, such as French fries and wedges, as well as crisps.

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Although South Africa produces its own sunflower oil, it does not make enough to meet demand. The publication reports that imports (about 20% above local production) are heavily dependent on the Black Sea region.

However, commercial director at Southern Oil (SOILL) Morné Botes told JacarandaFM that oil seed production is expected to increase in South Africa.

“The total RSA oil seed production is expected to increase by 7% year on year, driven strongly by the sunflower crop. Sunflower stock to usage has declined in the last few months, leading to more reliance on imports from EU. The impact of the crude oil price is going to have an impact on world shipping costs, and if the war continues the import/export costs is going to be driven upwards.”


In the wake of the the war in eastern Europe, many South Africans have resorted to panic buying. This is out of fear that food prices will be hiked as demand becomes greater than supply.

Owner of Oxford Supermarket Brett Latimer stated last week that customers sent car guards into the store to purchase five-litre cooking oil for them. This is due to the limit the company set for the purchasing of the products. The limit is four bottles of five-litre oil per customer. However, this limit has not helped store much as it has a few months’ worth of stock of cooking oil.

“Some of the prices are increasing sharply, in part, because of panic buying,” Luan van der Walt, an economist at Grain SA, told Business Insider.

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