Peanut oil is an edible vegetable oil that is derived from peanuts. Peanuts are legumes and are native to Latin America and several others tropical regions. Peanut or groundnut oil is a well-established product with a historically high use in several Asian foods and cuisines. It is used either as a base for cooking (cooking oil) or to enhance the flavor of the underlying food.
The market for cooking oils is a crowded place with a high level of competition and minimal unique functionality. This competition is due to the high and consistent use of several other vegetable oils and introduction of new and unique oils every year. The emergence of soybean oil, for instance, is cited as an important reason for the decline in the use of peanut and other vegetable oils. The impact of new oils is particularly strong in developed regions as consumers belonging to these regions have access and purchasing power to buy these new products.
The other important factor that governs the growth of peanut oil market is the extent to which peanuts are used for direct consumption and for processing. It is estimated that the share of peanuts used for direct consumption will increase in the coming years.
The functional properties offered by peanut oil are an important factor driving the market. Peanut oil is particularly suited for deep-frying purposes as it does not absorb the flavor of the underlying food products. It is also a relatively healthy oil due to a low percentage of saturated fats, trans-fats, and cholesterol. These factors are important in the context of the increasing health awareness among consumers. The nutty flavor offered by peanut oil is also an important factor that influences peanut oils to be used as a dressing and flavoring agent.
Allergy to peanut is a serious concern for the market as peanut allergy is a relatively high cause of food-related deaths. As per the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, over 0.6% of the population in the U.S. is allergic to peanuts or peanut-derived products. The use of refined and processed peanut oil mitigates this risk to a certain extent.
On the basis of type, the market is segmented into refined and unrefined peanut oil. The refined oil is refined through bleaching and deodorization. This process essentially removes the components that might cause peanut-based allergies thereby making refined peanut oil, non-allergic. The high smoke point offered by refined peanut oil makes it an attractive frying oil for hotels and restaurants. Unrefined peanut oil offers the nutty taste of peanuts and is, therefore, an ideal choice for salad dressings.
On the basis of packaging, the market is segmented into plastic bottles and containers, glass containers, plastic pouches, and cartons. Convenience, cost and shelf life are important parameters to gauge the performance of any kind of packaging method. The plastic bottles and containers and plastic pouches are important and dominant segments due to their particular applicability in preparing food products.
On the basis of production of peanuts, China and India dominate the market and account for over half of the global production. The United States is also an important producer with over ten percent of the global share. On the basis of consumption, the market presents a more complex and region-specific trend. The overall observable trend being that the increase in peanut oil consumption is closely related to its increasing incorporation in food products.