Edible oil or cooking oil industry comprises companies that manufacture, distribute and supply oils meant for cooking and edible purposes. The oils manufactured are used for a variety of purposes; for cooking and frying at homes, large restaurants, and fast food chains and factories that produce foods needing no additional oil to be mixed or fried with, before consumption. The processes and procedures that are undertaken to manufacture oils involve corn wet-milling- a process through which the corn kernels are broken into their basic components-; processing soybeans, tree nuts, and vegetables into oil; refining vegetable fats; and blending vegetable fats with purchased animal fats.
The growth in the edible oil industry has been the result of many driving factors; not only from the demand perspective but from the consumer perspective as well. From the consumer trends perspective, demand is driven in the area of sweeteners, fats, food oils, and eating meat, since soybean meal is used primarily to feed poultry, swine, and cattle. The profitability of individual companies and organizations mainly depends on managing raw material costs and leveraging federal farm subsidies and efficient operations. The advantage with large companies and organizations is that the size of purchase, distribution, and marketing is incredibly large, organized, and systematic. On the contrary, small companies have to operate and compete effectively by understanding and catering accordingly to their local market, and offering specialized customized products that attract consumers.
The global edible oil industry is highly concentrated where the eight largest companies account for over 80% of the total industry’s revenue. In the edible oil industry, the major products include soybean cake and meal, shortening and cooking oils, corn sweeteners. Other products include margarine, butter blends, butter substitutes, soybean oil, palm oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil, and other edible oils. The cooking oil is manufactured from a wide variety of edible oil plants.