top of page

The growth of the edible oil industry in South America

South America is one of the key global producers of edible oil. Indeed, a significant number of its exports are integral to the continent's production from foodstuffs, to raw materials. According to a 2020 report by Market Data Forecast, the global edible oils and fats market is expected to grow to $65.84 billion by 2023. According to the report, developing markets are the main factor driving demand in the market, particularly in India, Indonesia and Argentina. Here is a breakdown of the biggest producers in South America, and how they are shaping up in 2021…


One of the leading South American players in the agricultural export market, Brazil is set to become the number one exporter of soybean oil in the next decade, according to a report by OECD/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Interestingly the report also suggested that by 2028, more than 87 percent of oilseeds (and 91 percent of world soybean output as a whole) are expected to be through the fast expanding ‘crushing method’, which sees oilseeds turned into a meal (cake). “Overall, 91 percent of world soybean output and 87 percent of world production of other oilseeds are projected to be crushed in 2028,” the report said.


Argentina is one of the world’s leading vegetable oil exporters, and currently ranks as the third largest on the planet, behind Indonesia and Malaysia. The country is expected to account for approximately 7.9 percent of world’s vegetable oil exports by 2027. Key edible oil markets in the country include groundnut, sunflower and soybean oil. The top five companies leading the way in the country are local players, Aceitera General Deheza SA, Molinos Río de la Plata SA, Molino Cañuelas SA, Nidera SA and Marolio SA.


This Latin American nation is the number one exporter on the continent for palm oil, and fourth largest in the world. Although a relatively small producer compared to the Asian giants of Indonesia and Malaysia (who jointly account for 85 percent of the world’s palm oil market compared to Colombia’s 2 percent). It is still an important export for the country, which is expected to grow. One of the key palm oil battlegrounds in the country is in the push for sustainable production. According to the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), in 2017 only 14 percent of the country’s production was sustainable. However, this was a significant increase from 2 percent in 2013.


bottom of page