UK food shortage: From fish and chips to bread – the goods Brits could struggle to buy

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has brought a complete standstill to the country’s agricultural industry. Kyiv is one of the largest exporters of sunflower oil and wheat to countries around the world, including the UK. But with production now in a state of paralysis supplies have become stretched. Those products left on the shelves are also seeing their prices pushed to unprecedented highs by rising inflation.

Industry experts have warned that Britons might have to get used to a smaller variety of products to choose from when they go food shopping in the future.

Since January, European wheat prices have swelled 74 percent while benchmark palm oil futures have also grown 24 percent, reports Reuters.

Last week it was also revealed that UK inflation had moved up to nine percent, creating further financial woes for households already struggling to stay afloat.

So, what food products are at risk of suffering from shortages in the coming months?

Bread, pasta and cereals

Together Ukraine and Russia supply around a third of the world’s wheat stocks – a key component for everyday foods such as bread, pasta and cereals.

Russia now controls the Black Sea which Ukraine had previously used as its main trading route with the rest of the world.

As farmers are also unable to plant their crops it’s forced countries to consider alternative suppliers.

Andrew Pyne, Chief Executive of the UK Federation of Bakers, has warned fewer bread products will be available in the UK as a result of the Russian invasion.

While there is no immediate threat to British stores, prices are expected to grow significantly.

Mr Pyne told how a “typical white loaf has gone up by 5.5 percent (ONS) since the beginning of the year”.

He added: “Producers are doing all they can to contain bread pricing, but wheat pricing will remain a risk and increased costs will unfortunately need to be passed on to consumers.”

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Crisps, fish and chips & other fried food

Russia and Ukraine account for around 70 to 80 percent of global exports of sunflower oil.

Supply is likely to be impacted by the war as planting season for sunflower oil is from April to May.

With fewer people to work the land, due to conscription or fleeing the country, and no ability to import vital supplies it’s unlikely that the situation will improve.

The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) has warned the four key ingredients that make up a traditional fish and chip meal are being significantly affected by the war.

Of the oils used by British fish and chip shops some 50 percent come from Ukraine, while around 40 percent of cod and haddock comes from Russia.

Russian fertiliser which is used to grow potatoes and flour involved in batter mixes are also under threat.

The resulting impact is likely to drive prices even higher and potentially put many fish and chips stores out of business altogether.


Ukraine and Russia are the fourth and fifth biggest exporters of corn and maize globally – a common staple used to feed livestock.

Removing their supplies from the market could create problems for the meat production process and, in turn, lead to shortages or price hikes.

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