Cooking oil sales in China look set to increase in 2020 due to more people eating at home, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) reported on 6 May.

The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics reported that in January-February 2020, the country’s retail sales had fallen by 20.5% - or 1.3bn yuan (US$183M) - to 5.2bn yuan (US $734M) compared to the same period last year.

However, in the same period, the category of food products had grown by 9.7% and the cooking oil section was a part of this surge.

This rise in cooking oil sales was opening up opportunities for the top four cooking oil companies and smaller players to increase sales, MPOC said.

In China, cooking oil distribution and sales were mostly concentrated with the top four companies: Wilmar International, COFCO, Shandong Luha and Xiwang Food. These companies held approximately 63.8% of the country’s cooking oil market share. Arawana and Fu Lin Men were two of the most famous cooking oil brands in China, belonging to Wilmar and COFCO respectively, followed by Lu Hua and Xiwang brands.

The increase in dining at home by the Chinese in 2020 was expected to lead to a rise in household cooking oil consumption per capita.

The total volume of cooking oil consumed was also driven by population growth. and from 2014 to 2019, the cooking oil market grew by an average rate of 3%/year or an annual increase of 41,560 tonnes to reach an estimated consumption of 13.7M tonnes in 2019. China’s population had grown by an average rate of 0.5% for the same period under review.