Sunflower oil replaced in many food products: how to know? Is this a good thing?

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, certain products have become rarer or are in short supply. This is the case of sunflower oil. Many producers who use it in their preparations are therefore forced to modify their recipes. However, this is not without consequence.

In recent weeks, the composition of many food products has changed. This is particularly the case for spreads, crisps, pizzas, olives or stock cubes. In the majority of these commodities, sunflower oil has been replaced by rapeseed oil.

In Belgium, 63% of manufacturers of foods based on sunflower derivatives are planning or have already changed their recipe. But some did not have time to change the label. On the shelves, we therefore find products whose sunflower oil is replaced by another ingredient without this being mentioned.

How do I know if the recipe has been changed? A list of the products concerned is available on the FPS Economy website. A total of 575 products are displayed. The vast majority of these are now made from rapeseed oil. Some manufacturers have turned to coconut oil or palm oil.

The switch from sunflower oil to palm oil changes the calculation of the nutriscore, ie the label that mentions the nutritional value of the product. “Rapeseed oil is rather a good thing from a nutritional point of view because we will benefit from an additional supply of Omega 3. On the other hand, when we replace sunflower oil or with oil coconut, these are oils that are very rich in saturated fatty acids. These are fats that we are trying to limit. This is a bad thing for the nutritional profile”, explains Nicolas Guggenbühl, nutritionist.

On the list of the SPF economy, ten foods now obtain a lower score.

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