A few years ago, Toni Lamprecht converted his parents’ farm in Schnaitsee (Traunstein district) from dairy farming to oilseeds. Since then, the 42-year-old has been producing cooking oil in the Garting oil mill – and, like other oil mills in Bavaria, he has recently been faced with enormous demand: because the Ukraine war has mutated oils in the supermarkets into hamsters and in short supply, he’s coming along hardly lag behind the production.
SZ: Mr. Lamprecht, how is the situation? Are people running into you?
Toni Lamprecht: It’s a strange situation. We sell 28 types of cooking oil, but demand for only three has increased significantly: rapeseed and sunflower oil and, not quite as much, mustard oil.
More demand – that sounds like good business.
Yes, that’s what you think. But you come up against so many limits. We don’t even have the quantities that are in demand. We are a small family business with 15 people and simply cannot do more. Our oils are made with an oil press. You can think of it like a meat grinder. We manage 500 to 1,000 liters a day – if it’s supposed to be 3,000 at once, that’s a problem. And then the bottles have to be filled and packaged by hand.
How much oil do you usually sell?
On a weekend we have around 50 orders, which can also be several bottles. The first weekend, when it all started, there were 550. The 500 more were all canisters of rapeseed or sunflower oil.
That sounds exhausting.
I deal with stress well, but some in the team have trouble sleeping because they worry about where we’re going to get all the oil from. That’s why we recently closed our online shop for five days. The rest was more important.
Can you even grow as many oilseeds as are needed?
We farm 20 hectares with rapeseed, camelina, black cumin or chia. We buy most of it here in the region, but rapeseed is sold out everywhere. I’ve found a little something in East Germany, but is that the point? I’m not so sure about that myself. But it is probably more sensible to have goods than to further increase the emergency situation.
What would be the point?
To educate people about healthy eating and the role agriculture can play in it. Or about the differences between industrially and handcrafted oil. Industrially produced oil has its raison d’être in gastronomy. For the private user, however, a wholesome oil would be important in everyday life.
Do you at least experience appreciation for your product?
In my experience, this appreciation for regional, for handcrafted things has been increasing for a few years. This should continue to be the case even after this crisis. Above all, I hope that this will all end soon. The war in Ukraine is humanly terrible. And economically we are benefiting at the expense of others. That does not fit me.