Soybean oil consumption grows fast

    Soybean oil consumption grows fast
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    Rising health awareness, income and government regulations requiring processors to fortify edible oil with vitamin A have sparked demand for soybean oil, industry experts said. Star / file

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    Rising health awareness, income and government regulations requiring processors to fortify edible oil with vitamin A have sparked demand for soybean oil, industry experts said. Star / file

    Consumption of soybean oil is growing faster than that of palm oil, which is increasing with the growing preference among families to prepare food.

    Rising health awareness, income and government regulations requiring processors to fortify edible oil with vitamin A have sparked demand for soybean oil, industry officials said.

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    Bangladesh consumed 13.10 thousand tonnes in 2020-21, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 5 percent from 2017-18.

    On the other hand, palm oil consumption increased by 0.5% during this period, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

    Consumption of palm oil in Bangladesh was 16.10 thousand tons in the year 2020-21 from 15.78 thousand tons three years ago, the US agency said in its report “Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade” recently published.

    The report said Bangladesh was the fifth largest importer of palm oil after India, China, the European Union and Pakistan during the 2020-21 marketing year, and was the third largest importer of soybean oil in the same year.

    Mr. Shafiul Ather Taslim, Chief Financial Officer of TK Group, one of the leading importers and processors of edible oils, said that the increased consumption of soybean oil reflects the gradual shift of consumers from buying loose oil to packaged or bottled oil which was mainly soybean oil.

    Bottled oil currently accounts for up to 40% of total edible oil consumption. The reason was just 15 percent two decades ago, he said.

    “Health awareness is rising and middle-class people, including many families in rural areas, are consuming soybean oil,” he said, expecting soybean oil consumption to increase further.

    The USDA said Bangladesh consumes more than half a tonne of vegetable oil and palm bills a year. Today palm oil is mainly used for industrial purposes, such as for the bakery.

    Biswajit Saha, director of corporate and regulatory affairs at City Group, another major player in the industry, said the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 pandemic affected industrial demand for palm oil. And that affected his consumption.

    At the same time, soy crushing has increased, he added.

    The private sector has doubled its capacity to crush oilseeds in the last four years to meet the growing demand for soybeans from the feed industry and the demand for soybean oil for human consumption.

    Mohd Didarul Islam, head of finance and accounts at Bangladesh Edible Oil, said government policy requiring edible oil enrichment and other rules has increased oil packaging for human consumption.

    Today, most of the edible oil sold in packaged or bottled form is soybean oil and sales of loose oil will gradually decline, he added.

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