Edible oil demand has plateaued during pandemic: Renuka Sugars MD

Panaji, Sep 27 (IANS): Demand for edible oil has plateaued in India in the pandemic-hit two years, despite an increase in population, managing director of Renuka Sugars Atul Chaturvedi said on Monday, adding that its consumption could increase if there is no third Covid wave and the economy finds itself on a corrective path.

Chaturvedi also said that the rise in edible oil prices in the country was reflective of international value, adding that a dip in edible oil prices was expected to be gradual and not drastic in the coming time due to an estimated increase in global production.

"Over the last decade, India has seen an increase in demand of around 750,000 tonnes per annum. For two years before the pandemic - in 2019 - Indian consumption of edible oil was around 23 million tonnes in total. Two years later, we are looking at 21 million tonnes. There is demand destruction and the annual increase is not happening. Despite an increase in population, we find the demand plateauing," said Chaturvedi, who was in Goa to attend the recently concluded 'Globoil India', an edible oil and agri trade conference.

"The high prices offset consumption. The economy has also not been doing well because of the pandemic and this has also affected consumption. If there is no third wave of Covid-19 and we see a better economy next year, we can expect an increase in consumption," Chaturvedi also said.

He also said that edible oil production could increase by five million tonnes globally, which would "put pressure on prices", but added that the increased production would not cause a drastic fall in prices.

"The world might see five million tonnes more edible oil production next year which will put pressure on prices. But we are not expecting a drastic fall in prices domestically. It will be more gradual," he said.

India annually consumes eight million tonnes of palm oil, five million tonnes of soya oil, three million tonnes of mustard oil, 2.5 to 2.7 million tonnes of sunflower oil and nearly one million tonnes of rice bran oil.

"In terms of percentage, the market share of palm oil is at 40 per cent, soya at 24 per cent, sunflower close to 12 per cent, mustard at 14 per cent, rice bran at five per cent, and others (including groundnut) close to five per cent," Chaturvedi said.



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