Soybean oil is one of the most preferred edible oils in the world accounting for more than a fifth of the total global consumption of edible oils. It has versatile applications in the food and non-food industries as a result of its numerous functional properties. In the food industry, it is used for cooking, frying and as an ingredient in the production of various other food products such as margarine, shortenings, non-dairy creamers, etc. Its non-food applications include the production of animal feed, caulks, mastics, resins, plastics, biodiesel and insecticides.
IMARC Group finds that the global soybean oil market has grown at a CAGR of nearly 4% during 2008-2015 with the consumption volume reaching 46.4 Million Tons in 2015. Despite the fact that soybean oil faces stiff competition from palm oil, which now represents the most consumed edible oil, the global consumption of soybean oil is expected to rise steadily. The market will be driven by its various nutritional benefits and increasing industrial applications.
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Food industry represents the largest end-use sector of soybean oil
The majority of the soybean oil is consumed by the food sector. Soybean oil offers numerous health benefits and has various functional properties which result in its versatile uses in the food industry. Soybean oil is a nutritionally balanced oil with low saturated and high polyunsaturated fats. It also represents a rich source of phytosterols, Vitamin E and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Moreover, as it is nearly tasteless and odourless, it is used in the production of shortenings, margarine, dressings, mayonnaise, sauces, non-dairy creamers, whipped toppings, potato chips and baked goods. It can easily be blended with other oils in order to increase the volume, this property is utilised by various chefs and manufacturers in order to save ingredient costs.
Figure 1: Global: Soybean Oil Consumption by End-Use Segments
Source: IMARC Group Estimates
The second largest and fastest growing end-user of soybean oil is the industrial sector. As soybean is available worldwide, soybean oil represents a viable and sustainable replacement for petrochemicals and known carcinogens in various industrial applications. It is used in the production of insecticides, adhesives, coatings, waxes, candles, printing inks, pharmaceutical products, lubricants, hydraulic fluids, plastics and speciality products. Soybean oil is used as a feedstock for the production of biodiesel as well. The biodiesel thus produced is safer to store, handle and use than petroleum-based fuels. It can be used solely or can be blended with petrol without modifying the engine.
Soybean oil is also used in the animal feed industry which accounts for the remaining share of its total consumption. It is also a good source of fat which can be easily digested by animals. The large amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids present in soybean oil increases the energy density of the feed and improves feed utilisation efficiency. Moreover, the linoleic acid present in soybean oil improves the reproduction in dairy cattle.
China accounts for a quarter of the global soybean oil production
Currently, China represents the largest producer as well as the largest consumer of soybean oil, accounting for more than a 25% of the total global production and around 30% of the total global consumption. China was followed by the US, Brazil, Argentina, European Union and India.
As soybean oil is produced around the world, there are both global and national players operating in the market. The global players have the leverage of large-scale production, processing, trading and marketing which they use to their advantage. Some of these players include – Bunge, ADM, Cargill, AGP, CHS, etc.
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About IMARC Group: IMARC Group is a leading market research and consulting company that offers management strategy and market research worldwide. The company has done multiple projects on the soybean oil industry, which has enabled the clients to successfully setup and expand their businesses. Some of the company’s offerings include:
- Market Research
- Plant setup
- Plant Expansion
- Marketing and sales
- Procurement and Distribution
- Innovation and Product Development
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