The rise in consumer interest in health and nutrition is having a marked positive impact on the performance of some edible oils, supported by prominent media attention on the benefits of oils such as olive oil and flaxseed oil. Olive oil is particularly rich in oleic acid, which is claimed to help to reduce blood pressure and aid the burning of fat to help with weight loss, while flaxseed oil contains high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are associated with a range of health benefits, ranging from combatting anxiety and depression to improving eye health.
Supported by the rise in health-focused demand, premium-positioned oils performed well at the end of the review period. Japanese consumers proved increasingly willing to pay higher prices for high-quality products perceived to offer significant health benefits, with flaxseed oil taking over from coconut oil as the key driver of growth in other edible oil, the fastest-growing category at the end of the review period.
The rising popularity of edible oils is being supported by a shift in consumer perceptions of fat. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars, are increasingly seen as a greater threat to health than fat, with many consumers adopting low-carb diets which place an emphasis on fats to provide energy.
Nisshin Oillio Group Ltd remained the largest player in edible oils in 2019. The company has been prominent amongst the major players in developing sales of premium-positioned products such as flaxseed oil and higher-end sesame oil, as well as increasing its market-leading share in olive oil.
Manufacturers are increasingly focusing on shifting their product ranges upmarket, as sales of standard-priced oils and traditional products such as rapeseed oil and soy oil witness decline.
J-Oil Mills Inc was the second largest player in edible oils in 2019 but, unlike the leader, Nisshin Oillio, it saw a decline in value sales during the year. This resulted from a poor performance in core standard products, though the company saw rising sales in the premium segment.
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