January 2012/Prepared Foods -- The market for fats and oils continues to grow. Packaged Facts estimates the segment reached $9.2 billion in sales by the end of 2011 and forecasts it will hit $10.6 billion by 2016, buoyed by research supporting the role of specific types of fat in maintaining health. Salad and cooking oils, butter, margarine, mayonnaise and other fats enjoyed a compound annual growth rate of 3.1% between 2007-2011, with U.S. sales jumping to $9.2 billion, from $8.2 billion in 2007. While the growth rate over that time appears fairly small (the exception being 2008, when food inflation pushed dollar sales higher), the presumption of an improving economy has led Packaged Facts to predict consumers will begin considering health and nutrition when formulating their food spending budget. Per the report, “The category’s growth is expected to pick up along with the economy and overall consumer spending, reaching 3.5% by 2016, when sales are projected at $10.6 billion.” However, this will follow a 2012 where the segment’s growth will be a fairly paltry 2%, largely due to inflation and higher pricing.    


Fats and Oils

“Increased consumer demand has prompted manufacturers to bring new foods and beverages to market touting healthy fats and oils content,” explains David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts, “and these products have sold well enough, even in tough times, that they’ve emerged as relatively recession-proof compared to other food categories. Some may point out that many fats and oils, such as butter, margarine and cooking oils, are household staples that consumers will always buy; but make no mistake, this newfound health perspective is driving sales.”