Several supermarket chains in Belgium are limiting the sales of products, such as flour, oil and canned vegetables, due to the high demand.
While Colruyt is putting a limit on the number of oil and flour products each customer can buy and Lidl is restricting the sale of sunflower oil and canned vegetables, both chains emphasise that there are no shortages.
"The consumption in the last few days is not normal anymore," a spokesperson for Colruyt said. "This is a preventive measure. To allow the shelves to be replenished and to give all customers a chance to make a purchase."
In practice, Colruyt clients are asked to bring a maximum of two products of oil and two bags of flour per customer. Posters informing customers about the measure have been put up on the shelves of flour and oil.
The limited sale of oil does not only apply to sunflower oil, but also to other types of oil that are used as alternatives, such as olive oil or salad oil.
- Industrial bakeries fear short-term price explosion of bread
- War in Ukraine will inevitably impact Belgian budget
- Supermarkets faced with shortages and sharp price increases
Ukraine and Russia – known as "the granary of Europe" – are among the world's largest producers of wheat and sunflower oil. Because of the war, many people fear supply problems and shortages, resulting in large price increases.
Colruyt stressed that there is enough for everyone, asked everyone to stay calm and not repeat the situation from early 2020, when people started hoarding.
"We want everyone to stay reasonable now, so that we can maintain normal consumption and our employees have enough time to restock the shelves in time," she said. "Oil and flour products still arrive in our shops every day."
At Lidl, they also restrict the sale of canned vegetables: only two cans of canned vegetables (of the same type) are allowed per customer.
"We have noticed that the demand is increasing and this way we want to inform everyone well: if we spread the demand enough, there will be enough volume," a spokesperson told VRT.
While Delhaize and Albert Heijn reportedly also notice that certain products go out very easily, they are not restricting sales for the time being.