Coronavirus (COVID-19) provided an opportunity for sales of edible oils to rebound in 2020 after a period of stagnation. This sudden rise stemmed from increased home cooking despite several other factors that suppressed sales.
In South Korea, a considerable proportion of annual edible oil sales occurs around the two largest national holidays: New Year’s Day and Chuseok, with these products representing highly popular gift sets during these occasions. Edible oils are used to make traditional holiday foods when families gather to celebrate.
Consumer demand for different types of edible oils was spurred by home seclusion during 2020. Even before the outbreak, sales of olive oil and other types of oil such as avocado oil, coconut oil, MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil and truffle oil, were on the rise as a result of increasingly diverse ways in which the oils are utilised.
The spike in oil consumption at home in 2020 is unlikely to endure once the pandemic is eradicated and vaccines found. Much of this will stem from mounting health concerns over the use of edible oils in cooking, which prior to the pandemic had already been stimulating a consumer shift to new types of cooking appliances such as air fryers, which require zero or a fraction of the oil.
The increasing penetration of air fryers is increasingly changing the way cooking oils are consumed. Traditionally, oils in plastic or glass bottles were commonly used for home consumption.
While almost every alteration to consumer habits during the outbreak, including consumption and purchase patterns, is expected to return to normal once the virus is eradicated, the recovery of edible oil sales via traditional store-based channels will face uncertainty. The unexpectedly prolonged presence of COVID-19 throughout 2020 is likely to alter buying patterns from store-based to e-commerce, not just among younger generations, but also older generations who are not as au fait with this technology.
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This report originates from Passport, our Edible Oils research and analysis database.
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