Edible oils saw volumes rise in 2018, as the staple status of products such as vegetable oil and rapeseed oil meant that the category benefited directly from population growth. Even more significantly, edible oils volume growth was driven by an ongoing shift from unpackaged to packaged products.
Not all edible oils are staples in Pakistan, with olive oil being consumed primarily by more affluent urban consumers and available only in packaged formats. Olive oil was the most dynamic category in 2018, as it benefited from the expansion of a new urban middle class that perceives itself to be modern and Western-influenced at the same time as visibly committed to Islam.
The factors that are driving the consumer shift from unpackaged to packaged products in edible oils and generating demand for olive oil are also generating opportunities for manufacturers of edible oils to shift their product offers upmarket. As consumers become more concerned with product safety and quality and more able to prioritise such factors in purchasing decisions, there is increasing potential to segment the edible oils product offer in terms of quality.
Dalda Foods remained the largest player in edible oils in Pakistan in 2018. Along with second-placed, Habib Oil Mills, the leading company has played an important part in encouraging consumers to switch from unpackaged to packaged products and both Dalda and Habib’s eponymous brands have become established names in the market through consistent promotions and brand-building efforts.
While the leading players have been important in generating demand for packaged edible oils, the category remains highly fragmented, with no company registering a double-digit value share at the end of the review period. Indeed, the top three players, Dalda Foods, Habib Oil Mills and Agro Processors & Atmospheric Gases, all experienced share decline in 2017 and 2018, as rivals looked to tap into the growing demand for packaged products.
Dalda notably worked to expand its share in the small but fast-growing olive oil category over the review period, as it looked to challenge category leader, Unilever Pakistan. However, like the broader edible oils category, olive oil’s growth potential attracted interest from a growing number of players, leading to increasing fragmentation as the review period progressed.
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