Steep price hikes caused butter retail volume sales to decline sharply in 2018. The category saw retail volume sales recover strongly in 2019 as unit prices stabilised, though demand continued to be hampered by the fact that butter is more expensive than alternatives such as margarine and cooking fats.
Relatively low unit prices and traditional consumption habits helped to maintain steady demand in the margarine and spreads and cooking fats categories in 2019. However, retail volume growth rates were constrained by rising awareness that these product types tend to be high in saturated fats and lacking in nutritional value, which puts them at odds with the health and wellness trend.
Aside from rising health-consciousness, the growing tendency of Mexican consumers to eat out on a regular basis is expected to constrain retail demand for cooking fats over the forecast period. This trend is only likely to become more pronounced as increasingly busy lifestyles leave consumers with less time for cooking at home.
ACH Foods remained the leading company in butter and spreads in value terms in 2019 due to the dominant position of its Inca brand in cooking fats. Cremería Americana ranked second overall.
Unilever Group sold its spreads division to investment fund KKR in December 2017. This deal included the Primavera and Iberia brands, which remained the clear leaders in margarine and spreads in Mexico in value terms in 2019.
Coconut oil products have recently become more widely available and popular in Mexico, as they are seen as a healthier alternative to traditional cooking fats. Towards the end of the review period, the PAM brand introduced a coconut oil product in a convenient spray/aerosol format that eliminates spillages and makes it easier for consumers to regulate the amount of oil used.
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