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Vegetable Oils in 2024: Africa's top business ideas and opportunities

With more than 14 million tons of cooking oils consumed in sub-Saharan Africa every year, the continent presents a large and fast-growing multi-billion-dollar market for a wide range of vegetable oils. This guide explores the most lucrative opportunities.

The demand for cooking oils in Africa is growing at 6-10% per year, one of the highest rates in the world. Photo by Ashwini

Vegetable oils lie at the foundation of African cuisine and play a key role in providing flavour, nutrients, and calories in many traditional meals and diets across the continent.

Often broadly classified as cooking oils or edible oils, vegetable oils have become a multi-billion-dollar product category due to high and fast-growing consumer and industrial demand.

By the end of 2021, the annual demand for cooking oils in sub-Saharan Africa exceeded 14 million tons and is projected to continue its rapid growth at a rate of 6-10% per year.

While Africa's population boom has led to higher consumption of vegetable oils, the continent's rapid urbanization is skewing food choices toward packaged, processed, and fast foods that require more oil to prepare.

Currently, there is a wide variety of vegetable oils on the African market, particularly in urban areas.

As a result, this guide doesn't only focus on Africa's local oils which dominate everyday foods in West Africa, southern Africa, and North Africa. We shall also explore the growing footprint of highly-refined (imported) vegetable oils, and the rising profile of niche and exotic cooking oils that are indigenous to certain parts of Africa.

Let's meet Africa's top cooking oils jostling for consumer attention and market share on the continent.

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