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Shopping for food. Photo credit: Victoriano Izquierdo

Supermarket chain in Malta limits purchases of staple foods

The Lidl supermarket in Malta has limited basic purchases of flour, oats and vegetable oil. Customers are being told that supplies have been "caught up in Russia".

Published: March 23, 2022, 7:51 am

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    The bargain chain’s importers on the island have warned that the conflict in Ukraine was having a knock-on effect and that key commodities from Ukraine and Russia would be restricted. Such shortages will inevitably lead to price hikes.

    The Chamber of Commerce has warned that the manufacturing sector was particularly vulnerable. Due to their almost total reliance on Ukraine for items like rice starch, manufacturers may be left stranded. Other products Malta imports from Ukraine include oats, maize and starch, each accounting for over 80 percent of total imports.

    In March, staples such as flour, baby food, vegetable oil and toilet paper, have been limited to just one item per customer. Lidl’s notice to shoppers does not give a reason for its rationing however.

    What are Lidl’s restrictions?

    Fruits in syrup are limited to five items per receipt

    Vegetables preserved in oil and tomato sauces are also limited to a maximum of five.

    Toilet paper, kitchen towels, and napkins are limited to three items.

    Vegetable oil (sunflower, corn, peanut, rapeseed) in 1 Litre containers are limited to 3 items per shopper.

    Larger containers of 5 Litres of vegetable oils are limited to just one item per customer.

    Customers can only purchase three tins of corned beef at a go.

    Baby food has been restricted to three items.

    And flour is limited to just three items per receipt. 

    Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s biggest grain suppliers. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the two countries represent 53 percent of global trade in sunflower oil and seeds and 27 percent in wheat.

    France to introduce food vouchers

    In France, in an interview with France Bleu radio on Tuesday, President Macron admitted the world was facing “a global food crisis”. The French leader who hopes to be re-elected next month, said he would be issuing food vouchers amid sharp rises in fuel and grain shortages.

    Ironically, Macron may be one of the leaders directly responsible for the dire consequences that the world is now facing in terms of food supplies since he disregarded the commitments his country had signed to implement the Minsk agreements to conclude a peaceful settlement in Ukraine.

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