Oils and Fats: Applications in Food and Industry

Published - Jul 2004| Analyst - Rachel Agheyisi| Code - FOD034A
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Report Highlights

  • U.S. production of fats and oils is projected to increase at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 0.8%, from 11.8 million metric tons in 2003 to 12.2 million metric tons in 2008.
  • The major vegetable oils are projected to account for the 69.9%, while animal fats are projected to account for the remaining 30.1%.
  • U.S. consumption of fats and oils in food products is projected to increase at an AAGR of 1.5% and reach 10.7 million metric tons by 2008.
  • Domestic production of animal fats is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.4% and reach 3.7 million metric tons, while production of


There is an understandable interest in the trends and issues relating to dietary fat consumption and the growing problem of overweight and obesity. They continue to generate considerable attention in the news media, as well as among medical professionals and public policy makers. It is fair to say that much of the information about these trends is presented in a format not easily understood by the average person.

This BCC report cuts through the layers of technical and often confusing data, and focuses on the fundamental information that shows what fats currently are being consumed, how much is being consumed, and where we might expect to see changes in consumption trends over the foreseeable future, and by how much.

In addition to an interest in consumption of edible fats and oils, BCC examines other nonfood uses of fats and oils, in particular, types of fats-based industrial products, recent production trends, and technologies relating to these products. The information on industrial products is beneficial in its own right, but it also serves as a “balance” to the information on dietary fat consumption.

Finally, the report notes the share and composition of food products in overall consumption of fats and oils in the U.S. It covers both the domestic aspect of fats and oils, as well as the important role of international trade in consumption of these products.


The report contains:

  • Detailed examination of the major categories of fats and oils
  • Discussion of production, international trade, technological and health issues pertaining to hydrogenation and trans fatty acids
  • Analysis of the consumption of fats and oils with forecasts to 2008
  • Detailed descriptions of existing industry structure and the role of research, competition, product differentiation and government policy.


BCC surveyed over 100 companies and relevant professional associations to compile the quantitative and qualitative data included in this report. The major U.S. producers of animal fats, and manufacturers of fat-based food and industrial products are profiled in the report. The data on international production and trade were obtained primarily from U.S. government sources, which have primary responsibility for the collection and publication of such data. Communications with various experts on oilseeds and products, and global trade provided supplemental information.

One of the intriguing findings of the research for this study was the diversity of units of measure used in the context of production and consumption of fats and oils. This was true of domestic statistics as well as global statistics. The differences in units not only make comparison difficult, in many cases it renders it meaningless. To minimize the confusion, and for consistency, all quantitative data in the report are expressed in metric tons. A conversion table is provided in the Appendix. .


Rachel Agheyisi works as a freelance research analyst for BCC, Inc. Her professional experience includes over 15 years in academia and consulting. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from McMaster University, Canada.

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