United Kingdom oils market: £1.6 billion industry in 2012

Press Release   •   Feb 19, 2013 17:13 GMT

Arla Foods UK Plc was the leading company in the United Kingdom oils market during 2012 with a 25% value share. The company's success is largely due to leading butter brand Lurpak, available in block, spreadable and lighter spreadable variants. Ranked second is Unilever Foods UK Plc, with the leading spreadable oils and fats brands Flora and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!; Unilever Foods UK Plc registered a 17% value share in 2012.

Health concerns are a key factor which impacts on the oils and fats category. Spreadable oils and fats, typically made from unsaturated fats, unlike margarine or cooking fats, saw 5% value growth in 2012, although volume sales fell marginally. The slow down in volume sales over the past few years can in part be attributed to consumers using slightly less as they aim to limit spend on some higher value products. That said, Brand operators are targeting added value and convenience in a bid to drive value sales, for example, launching smaller pack sizes, such as Lurpak Lighter Spreadable (Arla Foods UK Plc) in a 250g format, or offering more accessible formats such as Stork Baking Liquid (Unilever Foods UK Ltd), the company's first new product launch in this category since 1920. The latter product is linked to the growing trend for focusing on a product's heritage and the family values associated with home baking.

Home cooking is set to remain popular among consumers, a situation that bodes well for the future performance of local, regional and seasonal oils and fats products. New product launches in 2012 associated with home baking, in particular, are expected to perform positively. Celebrity chefs are set to remain as influential as ever and strong endorsement of products will help boost sales. Rapeseed oil is one such example, as through its promotion more consumers have become aware of this type of oil, its associated health benefits and local production.

Key Headlines

- Oils and fats sales grow by 5% in current value terms to reach £1,613 million in 2012
- As the UK enters a double-dip recession consumers continue to refrain from eating out, which contributes to rising interest in cooking and baking
- Butter sees the strongest current value sales increase, with a rise of 7% in 2012
- The average unit price of oils and fats rises in 2012, with olive oil and butter seeing the largest increases
- Arla Foods UK Plc leads the oils and fats category in 2012 due to the strong performance of Lurpak
- The forecast period is expected to see constant value sales rise at a 1% CAGR

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