This Surprising Pantry Staple Is About To Get A Lot More Expensive

When you think about expensive oil, chances are your mind jumps to some version of an extra-virgin olive oil, a finishing oil like truffle or even walnut. But if you're going to fry up a heap of fries or cook pancakes without changing its flavor, your go-to might be canola oil. It's a mostly flavorless, less expensive option that's at least seemingly related to a vegetable. Well, it is from a plant — albeit one that's been crossbred specifically for its use to make oil (via Healthline). And you can buy lots of it, pretty much anywhere.

However, this staple oil might soon be giving its fancy cousins a run for their money because of shortages that can be traced to China, Canada, and maybe even you, you pandemic oil hoarder (via Reuters). Apparently, a combination of hardships has befallen the canola industry at the same time, which means less canola to go around and higher prices for the stuff that's available.

Why are canola oil prices on the rise?

Reuters reported that in the fall of last year, Canadian farmers of the canola flower, suffered an abnormally small harvest. Canada, as it happens, exports the most canola oil, seeds, and meal (via Gro Intelligence). To make matters worse, China's been buying more canola than ever according to Reuters, to feed its livestock, especially hogs, which are apparently still recovering from a huge bout of African swine fever in 2018. And China is Canada's second biggest canola market, second only to us American oil guzzlers (via Canola Council).

Couple these problems with more overall demand for canola oil recently, as everyone hoards commodities, and supplies are running low (via Reuters). In a market, that means prices will rise and they've already risen to their highest since 2008, according to Food & Wine. So if you haven't already, it might be wise to stock up on this versatile oil. That, or take this as a sign to experiment with other contenders in the oil world. Have you even considered the possibilities of peanut oil? Grapeseed oil? Sunflower oil? Maybe it's time to expand your cooking oil horizons.