With change in lifestyle and improved incomes, consumption of branded edible oils has gone up in the country. Sales of unbranded oils have gone down to 57 per cent in 2011 in the country from 74 per cent in 2005.This change is almost uniform across the country, with some States shifting faster to branded oils.

Consumption of unbranded oils in Tamil Nadu plummeted to 36 per cent from 61 per cent and in Karnataka to 36 per cent from 63 per cent during the period.

India consumed 16 million tonnes of cooking medium (edible oils and fats) in 2010-11. This is growing at 5 per cent annually, Pradeep Chowdhry, Managing Director of Gemini Edibles and Fats India Private Ltd (GEF India), said.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, he said the 5 per cent growth rate was healthy. “But the per capita consumption of cooking medium is quite low when compared with the world average. While the world per capita stands at 21 kg, Indian per capita consumption is nearly half at 12 kg,” he said.

Ruchi Soya Industries, the edible oil company, holds 50 per cent in GEF India, with the remaining stake owned by Pradeep Chowdhry. It did a turnover of Rs 1,358 crore in 2011-12 and is looking at crossing the Rs 1,500-crore mark this financial year.

“We have no plans to raise funds,” he said.

The Hyderabad-based company, which depends on imported raw material, runs two plants at Kakinada and Krishnapatnam (in Nellore). It launched 1 litre bottle and 15-litre of Freedom branded refined sunflower oil.

GEF India is one of the companies slapped with notices for advertisements with tall claims in Andhra Pradesh. Responding to a question on this, he said the company had not received any notice. “We will handle it when we receive it,” he said.

All genuine vegetable oils can boast of zero cholesterol, he added.

kurmanath.kanchi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 7, 2012)
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