Preparation for food shortages: Food that becomes scarce or expensive during the Ukrainian War
During crises and disasters, food supplies can become scarce. What type of food will be the first to become scarce in Germany due to the Ukraine war?
From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.
👉 The key facts from this guide
- Sunflower oil and rapeseed oil could become scarce, as Ukraine and Russia are important exporters of these products and the war is affecting production and delivery.
- Flaxseed and linseed oil could also become scarce, as the supply is impacted by the war in Ukraine.
- Soybeans could become scarce, as Ukraine is a producer and the war is causing supply constraints. This could lead to rising meat prices, as soybeans are mainly used in animal feed.
- Toilet paper could become scarce, as some paper manufacturers are scaling back production due to rising energy costs.
- Flour could become scarce, as Russia and Ukraine are significant wheat exporters and the war is altering production and delivery.
- Meat and eggs could become scarce, as the production of soybeans and grains needed for animal feed and chicken feed is affected by the war.
The scarcity of food is not far away, but that doesn't mean every trip to your grocery store has to be frustrating permanently.
Instead, shortages are usually temporary, regional events that last for weeks (or longer).
The best way to prepare is to start shopping responsibly today.
Now let's take a look at which foods could become scarce in the future.
How Does a Crisis Affect Food Availability?
Food scarcity is common in crisis situations. During a crisis, the economic system falters and people lose their jobs.
In addition, natural disasters and other emergencies can disrupt the supply chain for these goods. This means that fewer food items are available to the people who need them most.
What Happens to the Food Supply Chain During a Crisis?
A crisis can disrupt a company's supply chain in many ways. One way is through the provision of raw materials. If a company's suppliers are disrupted, there may be insufficient raw materials for the manufacture of goods.
This can lead to shortages of products and stores. And it can also lead to higher prices for you as a consumer.
The same thing happened in Germany in 2022 when Russia attacked Ukraine. As Ukraine is a major exporter of sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, these two oils were almost unavailable in German supermarkets.
The food industry is no exception here: it relies on a stable supply chain for its products and services.
In recent years, the food industry has been strongly affected by crises, including the financial crisis of 2008, droughts in California, the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the Covid-19 virus, and now the war in Ukraine.
These events have all led to disruptions in the food supply chain, which have had enormous impacts on consumers' access to food and the prices they pay for it.
Which foods are most likely to be scarce due to the Ukrainian conflict?
The longer the war in Ukraine lasts, the greater the chance that prices will continue to rise or food will not be available at all.
Currently, supply shortages can still be compensated for with stocks, but in the medium and long term, stocks will be depleted.
If you are concerned about the future, you may want to know which foods are most likely to be scarce.
Now you will find a list of foods that are likely to become scarce or at least more expensive.
Sunflower Oil and Rapeseed Oil
Ukraine and Russia are important exporters of sunflower oil and rapeseed oil. The Association of Oilseed Processing Industry in Germany said that Ukraine, with 51% and Russia, with 27%, are the world's largest exporters of sunflower oil. We import 94% in Germany.
Due to the current war, productions are at a standstill and deliveries to other EU countries are suspended. In Germany, this is reflected in empty shelves and restricted supplies to customers. In my article "A Guide to Frying, Baking, and Frying Without Oil," you can read about alternatives to sunflower oil and rapeseed oil.
Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil
The supply of flaxseeds is also affected by the Ukraine war. Delivery difficulties make it difficult to deliver them to Germany.
Ukraine produces soy and due to the war, there are already supply shortages. This is not directly noticeable in Germany in the form of less soy on our plates but rather in the form of rising meat prices. The meat production mainly uses this soy for animal feed.
You may remember the toilet paper hoarding from the coronavirus crisis. It could happen again as some paper manufacturers are already shutting down their machines due to increasing energy costs.
Russia is the world's largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine is the fifth largest in the world. In addition, with the rising gas prices (here's how to prepare for a gas crisis), which many ovens are operated on, wheat products such as bread, rolls, and pasta are expected to increase in price. They will not be completely sold out, as Germany only imports a small amount of wheat from Russia and Ukraine.
As soy becomes scarce, meat production in Europe is affected. Therefore, meat could become more expensive.
Chickens need feed to stay healthy and lay eggs. However, since grain is becoming scarce, some experts predict that eggs could become scarce too. It is important to know which foods may become scarce because eggs are often processed into foods such as pasta.
Mustard seeds are already scarce in Germany and some productions are being reduced. The reason: almost 80% of imported mustard seeds come from Russia and Ukraine. So, mustard could become scarce in the summer or fall.
Since the cost of fertilizer has tripled in some cases, all types of field crops are affected. Vegetables or fruits could therefore become more expensive. Sugar is also affected because it is produced from sugar beets. It is an ideal time to start growing fast-growing vegetables.
This old prepper staple could be harder to find in the coming months. And it's not the food that's the problem – it's the cans themselves. With rising demand and a worrying shortage of magnesium (used in aluminum production), manufacturers are concerned that production will soon fall short.
Last year, there was a lot of rain, so the forecast for honey production in 2022 is not good. The Ukrainian war has worsened the situation by restricting the export of honey. Previously, a large amount of honey (around 15,000 tons, about one-sixth of total deliveries) came from Ukraine, but now it is difficult to find enough honey in Europe due to the war.
You may have already noticed that cucumbers are getting more expensive. The increase is due to rising energy prices and is similar for tomatoes and peppers. Many greenhouses currently used for production in Europe have gas heating and electric lighting. More distant places do not need this, but it costs a lot to get the food here.
What does the war in Ukraine mean for oil and gas prices?
Especially energy-intensive factories, such as steel mills that use an electric furnace, will not be able to bear the rising costs permanently.
The glass industry is also affected, which mainly operates its glass furnaces with gas.
The chemical industry requires a quarter of the total gas consumption in Germany. And almost every industry needs chemical products. In addition, chemical companies produce fertilizers which farmers use. If these are scarce or gone, nothing will be grown.
Some paper manufacturers have already reduced their production. The consequences? Toilet paper becomes more expensive again or is no longer available.
However, the logistics industry is most affected, as some haulage companies can no longer afford to pay the rising prices of petrol and diesel - the trucks are standing still. And as if the petrol and diesel prices weren't already problematic enough, over 100,000 drivers are missing from Ukraine.
And it is not only the vehicles on the road that are affected, as some fishermen are now leaving their boats idle due to the expensive fuel.
How can I prepare for a food crisis?
A food crisis drives up food prices. It can be caused by a drought, a storm, or even a major war.
There are several ways to prepare for it.
One of the simplest things you can do is to buy in bulk and store at home.
It is also advisable to consider how much money you have in your savings account and how high your debts are, so that you know what kind of food and equipment is appropriate for your situation.
How do you prepare for an impending emergency and ensure that you have access to food if needed?
Make a plan and prepare!
The world is unpredictable and with the increase in natural disasters and other emergencies, it is important to be prepared.
It is essential to have a plan in case of an emergency.
But please only buy your food in household quantities, because other people also depend on it.
Sources for the guide
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