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Blending combines potency of two edible oils & balances fatty acids

Peanut Market News October 20, 2020

Blending combines potency of two edible oils & balances fatty acids

The edible oil market in India is projected to grow from around $21.5 billion in 2019 to $35.2 billion by 2025 due to increasing disposable income and rising consumer awareness about healthy lifestyle & wellness. In 2019, the sales volume of edible oils in the Indian packaged foods market amounted to over 12 million metric tonne compared to 8 million metric tonne (MMT) in 2016. The respective shares of palm, soybean, sunflower oil, rapeseed-mustard oil, and peanut oil in Indian market are: 38 per cent, 22 per cent, 13 per cent, 13 per cent, and seven per cent, respectively. India’s per capita vegetable oil consumption is currently estimated at 16 kg for MY 2019/20. 

Earlier, use of edible oils was region-specific. Kerala was renowned for its consumption of coconut oil.  Mustard oil was the preferred choice in Northern and Eastern parts of India. Andhra and Rajasthan used sesame oil. Gujarat and Maharashtra preferred groundnut oil.

In the 80s, greater awareness about cardiovascular diseases and their association with consumption of dietary fats led to the Indian population becoming more discerning about the choice of vegetable oil that they consumed. As vanaspathi, ghee and trans-fats became less popular, sunflower oil attained popularity in the 90s. Today, the entire scenario has changed and research has produced conflicting results. Cardiologists recommend moderation in use of vegetable oils while cooking.

Consumption to exceed 34 MT

India’s vegetable oil consumption is expected to grow by 3% annually to exceed 34 million tonne by 2030. Urbanisation, changing food habits and popularity of processed foods and convenience foods are driving the consumption of edible oils in the Indian market. Palm oil, soy oil and sunflower oil market are increasingly penetrating the regional markets. Today, the import of blended edible vegetable oils without prior Agmark certification is not allowed in India.

Globally, edible oil consumption is growing at a CAGR of 8% and imports are needed to fill the gap between demand and supply. India is the largest importer of edible oils followed by China, the European Union and United States. Edible oil imports in MY 2020/21 is forecast to rise six per cent to 15 MMT, of which 8.5 MMT will be palm oil followed by 3.5 MMT of soybean and 2.8 MMT of sunflower seed oil and 0.2 MMT of rapeseed (canola) oil.

Wider range of essential fatty acids

Cooking at different temperatures leads to degradation of oil due to oxidative stress. Blending of vegetable oils combines the potency of two edible oils and offers a balance of fatty acids. Blended oils can provide a wider range of essential fatty acids than single vegetable oils, which helps support good nutrition. Blended oils do not have any adverse health implications. Blending of vegetable oils is the simplest method to create new specific products with desired properties with desired textural, oxidative and nutritional properties.

Blended oils have improved stability and nutritional characteristics and price is affordable too.  There are also economic reasons for blending vegetable oils. Appropriate blending of edible oils (such as rice bran and safflower oil; coconut and sesame oil; canola and flaxseed oil) also appears to be a good option to reduce the plasma lipids, inflammation and, thus, the CHD risk. The food regulator has stipulated that manufacturers of blended oils must mention the exact blend in percentage terms on the front of the pack along with other labelling modifications. 

Maintain taste, flavour and aroma

In the West, blended vegetable oils with Canola became popular since the mid 90s because Canola has monounsaturated fatty acids that lower cholesterol levels in the blood. This trend that caught up in the West invaded India as well because of greater health-consciousness of consumers. Blended oils are healthy and at the same they maintain the taste, flavour and aroma. They offer the right balance of fatty acids required from a nutritive standpoint.

Blending of vegetable oils and fats is an economical way to produce edible oils devoid of any chemical treatment. Blended oils retain natural flavour and nutritional value. The nutritional properties of importance are based on essential fatty acid contents, omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, saturated to unsaturated ratio and contents of antioxidants, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (PUFAs) fatty acids. Oxidative stability of the traditionally processed vegetable oils could be improved by blending them to obtain good and desirable formulations which will help to improve their storage stability.

Enhancing oxidative stability

Blending is the simplest and the most feasible method used to modify oils and fats for enhancing their oxidative stability and other functionalities for optimising their application in food products without necessity of chemical treatment. Unblended oils were found to have poor storage stability than the blended oils due to the synergistic effect of light and air. They need special packing to protect from light and air.

Consumers are likely to have heightened awareness on health, wellness, food safety and hygiene values. Cooking oils are vehicles for blending (for optimal nutrition) and fortification (with vitamins A and D as micronutrients). Consumers are aware of adulterants in unbranded edible oils sold at a discount. There have been complaints that some manufacturers are not indicating the proportion of the vegetable oils in their blends. The regulator is attempting to address such issues.

Recently, FSSAI decided to not allow blending of any other oil with mustard oil. Existing stocks of mustard oil had to be sold as unblended oil. FSSAI regulations dictated that blending of two edible oils is permitted, provided the proportion by weight of any edible vegetable oil used in the blending process is not less than 20%. The decision about mustard oil has been taken to encourage farmers to increase the production of mustard seeds. However, the Delhi HC has stayed implementation of this new rule.

India’s production of mustard seeds, which is grown in Rabi (winter season), stood at 91.16 lakh tonne in 2019-20 crop year (July-June). India's overall vegetable oil imports could decline to around 134-135 lakh tonne in the 2019-20 oil year (November-October) from 149.1 lakh tonne in the previous year on lower demand because of Covid-19 pandemic. It is believed that taste and aroma of mustard oil gets affected when it is blended with other oils.

(The author works as associate professor (marketing & operations) at Presidency School of Business, Bangalore. He can be reached at Venkatesh_gana@yahoo.co.in)

Source: http://www.fnbnews.com/Top-News/blending-combines-potency-of-two-edible-oils--balances-fatty-acids-61189

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