Portuguese retailers have started rationing certain food products, especially cooking oils, as a consequence of the invasion of Ukraine, according to media reports.
The measure especially affects sunflower oil, which is partly imported from Ukraine and has seen increased customer demand due to panic buying.
Shoppers in Continente stores are only allowed to buy three units of sunflower oil, and these limitations, which cover all brands including private labels, will remain in place until the end of March.
Similar restrictions on sunflower oil sales have been implemented by Mercadona, but the Spanish retailer did not clarify when the restrictions will be lifted.
Other products that are being rationed include tuna in vegetable oil, with consumers allowed to buy ten units at small food retailers and 20 units at Mercadão.
The secretary general of the Portuguese Association of Distribution Companies (APED), Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, has reassured consumers that “for the moment, there is no risk of products disappearing from shelves,” according to reports.
Lobo Xavier also noted that there is reason for concern due to “price readjustments of some raw materials in Europe” that “risk jeopardising the distribution and value chains”.
Meanwhile, the president of the Confederation of Farmers of Portugal (CAP), Eduardo Oliveira e Sousa, said that producers will start rationing food.
Oliveira e Sousa told weekly Expresso that Portugal finds itself “in a food emergency situation like never before” and predicts 20-30% price hikes for basic food products in the coming days, in addition to shortages.
According to Oliveira e Sousa, there is also concern that some farmers may give up the production of seasonal crops, such as maize, vegetables and certain fruits, in order to prevent losses.
He also warned that some product stock, such as flour for pasta, is so low that rationing may have to be introduced in one or two months.
For his part, the secretary general of the Portuguese Association of Animal Feed Manufacturers, Jaime Piçarra, expressed concern that, due to maize shortages, the price of animal feed will soon go up by 25-30% – a cost that many livestock producers will not be able to sustain.