How much 'oils and fats' are there in the world? Part 1

How much oils and fats are there in the world?

Part 1: Where does it all go to? what ‘s it for? what are they?

Monthly bulletin on Oils & Fats by Aveno
June 17th 2020

Oils or fats, are a significant part of all living organisms and play a vital role in their metabolism and their structure. So, all living things have some kind of oil or fat in them in higher or smaller amounts. 

Some vegetable products have little fat (1% in lentils), some seeds have a medium amount (10% in wheat germ, 20% in soybeans) while some are very oily (+40% in groundnuts, linseed, rapeseed, 55% in almonds or even 70% in pecan nuts). But some oils may have a specific fatty acid profile which makes them economically attractive, not for the amount of extracted oil but for the specificity of the oil. 

When looking at the evolution of production and usage of oils and fats in the past decades five things stand out: 
  • The production has easily kept pace with the growing demand from a growing population with increasing incomes.
  • The relative quantity of animals’ fats decreased steadily and significantly over 100 years; their visible share of production dropped from 50% to nearly only 10% today. 
  • The usage in nonfood applications has grown tremendously, especially in the last decades. 
  • Consumption patterns shift, due to changing dietary habits or economic and social changes. 

Evolution of population growth and global production of the major 17 oils & fats. 

Data source: Oil World, USDA, open sources 

The fats and oils come from vegetable and land animal and marine animal sources. Although cumulatively also significant in volume, the so called ‘unconventional oils’ like hazel nut oil, almond oil, wheat germ oil, rice oil, jojoba, grapeseed, safflower and many other oils or cocoa butter and shea butter and more, are not taken into account in our statistics. 

For this exercise we restrict ourselves to the most common or important oils and fats: palm and palm kernel oil, soybean, rapeseed, sunflower seed, cotton, corn, groundnut, coconut, olive, sesame, castor, linseed oils; lard, tallow, butter and fish oil. And we often had to mix seasonal and calendar year statistics to come to good representative annual figures. 

Next time we will dig a bit deeper in the production numbers of individual oils and some specifics about them. 

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Unless otherwise mentioned the crude oil values quoted in these documents are prices landed in EU without import duties, handling, storage, financing, refining, packing, transport or any other cost related to bring the product to market. They are used as market trend illustration. Substitution of oils is possible but different oils have different fatty acid profiles and are not all interchangeable for all applications. One can make biodiesel from all oils and fats but one cannot make mayonnaise from coconut oil. This document is exclusively for you and does not carry any right of publication or disclosure. This document or any of its contents may not be distributed, reproduced, or used for any other purpose without the prior written consent of AVENO. The information reflects prevailing market conditions and our present judgement, which may be subject to change. It is based on public information and opinions which come from sources believed to be reliable; however, AVENO doesn’t guarantee the correctness or completeness. This document does not constitute an offer, invitation, or recommendation and may not be understood, as an advice. This document is one of a series of publications undertaken by AVENO and aims at informing broadly a targeted audience about the edible oils & fats market. AVENO’s goal is to keep this information timely and accurate however AVENO accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the given information.

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