More functional products continue to gain momentum based on ongoing health and wellness trends, with both olive oil and coconut oil gaining further penetration across a broader base of local middle-income consumers, particularly millennials. More affordable value products coming from Asian countries (such as the Philippines and Sri Lanka) continued to bring coconut oil unit prices down, benefiting broader levels of penetration, while affecting the performance of smaller-scale local producers, which have higher operational costs.
Multiple types of vegetable oil products, ranging from soy, canola, sunflower, oil palm to corn, continue to make efforts to improve their perception as healthy alternatives among local middle-income consumers, using traditional omega 3 content, cholesterol free, no transfats and all-natural claims in order to incentivise demand. Pricing competition and point-of-sale availability continued to gain momentum, particularly as modern retailers’ direct imports continue to bring unit prices down, making it hard to maintain consumer preference for branded products based on top-of-mind awareness.
Further opportunities are anticipated for affordable added-value imported products over the forecast period. This has already been seen in the case of certified organic olive and coconut oils, with warehouse retailer PriceSmart continuing to take the lead with these types of value proposals.
Local and regional players such as Cía Numar SA, Coopeagropal RL and Inolasa continued to lead edible oils in Costa Rica, benefiting from vertically integrated business models with a local and regional presence. This allows them to make economies of scale savings based on their own palm oil plantations and processing and distribution operations.
Supermarkets’ direct imports continued to open up new opportunities for added-value products as seen with the PriceSmart organic lines Carrington Farms (coconut oil) and Terra Creta (Olive oil). It is a similar scenario with Automercado’s olive oil line Carbonell, which has different types of segmentation levels based on olive types and organic options.
New development opportunities are foreseen for affordable added-value products, functional edible oil mixes and organic products over the forecast period. Organic certification and multiple types of functional health claims in oils are expected to continue driving middle- and upper-income consumer preferences over the next five years.
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