The rise in the price of soy oil has complicated the lives of traders who work with frying on a daily basis. In São Paulo, vendors of pastel de Feira, popcorn and churros tell the UOL have started squeezing profit margins, researching suppliers and even reusing oil “to the limit”. Even so, they cannot avoid raising prices for customers.
Soybean oil has already risen 20.37% in 2022 alone and has accumulated a high of 31.53% in 12 months, according to the latest data from the IPCA (National Broad Consumer Price Index).
Gislene moneratoa partner in the company Tentação Churros, buys around 400 liters of oil a week to maintain its operation in four locations in the city.
The solution to save money is to look for the lowest price in wholesale markets and distribution centers and make a series of quotes over the phone. In a churro fryer, ten liters of oil go.
Before, if I paid R$0.50 more for oil, the final cost didn’t change much. Now, the employee who makes the purchases runs to ask for a discount. The expense is too big.
Gislane Moneratto, partner of Temptation Churros
At the beginning of the year, she paid from R$7 to R$8 for a bottle of oil, while today she pays R$13. She has already had to raise the prices of churros twice in 2022, first from R$8 to R$9, and then to $10.
“I preferred to increase the price and maintain the quality. We are safe as we can, but it is difficult”, he says.
At fair, baker uses oil ‘to the limit’
In the east side of São Paulo, baker João Carlos Nakasama says he cannot pass on all the increase in oil to customers.
“We have to hold on and earn less, because we use a lot of oil, there’s no way to replace it with something else to fry. The pastel has already increased from R$ 7 to R$ 8 since the beginning of the year. , says.
The adjustment of the pastel has not kept consumers away, according to him, either because of the tradition of eating pastel at the fair or because of the economy with lunch.
“People end up buying even with the most expensive price. You can buy less, but the crisis is not affecting so much in that sense, since I sell food. Many eat the pastel instead of having lunch in a restaurant, spending more, “says Nakasama.
A pastel fryer holds about 25 liters of oil, but Nakasama uses between 15 and 18 liters at a time. Two days later, at the next fair, she reuses the oil.
I fry about 500 pastries with a pan. And I use the same oil today and at the next fair. Then I don’t use it anymore.
João Carlos Nakasama, pastry chef
He says he discards the oil after the second use because it gets “very burnt”.
At another fair in the east of São Paulo, baker Rafael Yamamoto buys oil in 18-liter gallons. At the beginning of the year, he paid R$165 per gallon, and now he spends R$190.
“Eighteen liters of oil last only one day. We use the same oil all day and discard it at the end”, he says.
From the end of last year until now, the tent had to increase the price by R$ 1 — it went from R$ 8 to R$ 9. “We are still going to hold this price a little longer, but things are difficult”, says Yamamoto.
The problem with the strategy used by confectioners to save money is that reusing oil is bad for health. The ideal is to use it once and discard it right away.
“Using oil is no longer healthy, because it contains saturated fats of poor quality. When it is used several times, it is even worse, because it undergoes a process that makes the oil increasingly toxic and produces substances that accelerate cellular aging and can increase the risk of chronic diseases, including the development of cancer”, says Vivian Campos, specialist in integrative medicine.
How’s the popcorn?
Popcorn is made with few ingredients: corn, oil and salt or sugar, depending on the customer’s choice. For popcorn vendors, the price of oil directly impacts profits, because they are unable to pass on the high to the consumer.
The popcorn producer Ronivon Amaro prefers to make a smaller profit than lose sales. Today it charges from R$5 to R$10 per popcorn, depending on the size of the package.
“The worst thing is that you can’t increase the price. The movement has already dropped a lot. If I increase more, people don’t buy”, he says.
Raul Naves sells popcorn in the region of Mauá (SP) and in the east of São Paulo, in front of schools, lottery houses and churches. He uses four to five liters of oil a week to make about 200 packets of popcorn a day.
“I have not changed the price. If it increases, the customer does not buy. We have to spend more, even to please and keep customers,” he says.
Just like the traders heard by the UOLAbrasel (Brazilian Association of Bars and Restaurants) says that restaurants and bars are choosing to earn less so as not to pass on the increases to the consumer.
All this effort has been very hard, and it is the main reason why one in four establishments are operating at a loss.
Paulo Solmucci, CEO of Abrasel