Consumers cooking and eating more at home due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) helped drive retail sales of edible oils in Asia Pacific in 2020. Although growth slowed, it still moved ahead at a healthy rate in real value terms in 2021, albeit partly down to rising unit prices. Further steady growth is expected in Asia Pacific over the forecast period, with countries looking to up their domestic production of edible oils to lessen their exposure to price fluctuations on the international markets.
The region as a whole, as well as most of its countries, saw stronger retail value sales growth in 2020, as consumers were cooking and eating more at home due to lockdowns and foodservice closures. Although growth slowed in 2021, Western European countries were still being impacted by measures designed by control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the region, helping to keep demand above pre-pandemic levels across Western Europe.
The overall edible oils industry was heavily influenced in 2021 by the strong growth recorded in Turkey, the region’s biggest market. Rising prices for sunflower oil, which dominates sales in the Turkish market, due to recent devaluation of the local currency against the US dollar, as well as a poor sunflower harvest in 2020, resulted in very strong growth in this category in 2021.
Palm oil continued to see declining sales in Western Europe in 2021. This type of edible oil is widely deemed to be unhealthy due to its high level of saturated fat, with packaged food manufacturers often now advertising the absence of palm oil as a key selling point. Palm oil’s sourcing process is also increasingly perceived as having a negative environmental impact.
Sales of edible oils are expected to record positive volume growth throughout the forecast period, but will see a one-off slight dip into negative territory in real value terms in 2022, with some consumers, hit by the pandemic’s economic impact, forced to look for options offering the best value for money, such as the ever popular private label lines, in the short-term period. However, even private label is increasingly also exploring the higher-quality and organic areas of the market in edible oils in Western Europe.
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