Growth in Chinese Palm Oil Consumption Projected Next Year

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) has revealed that China imported an additional 438,747 MT of palm oil from Malaysia.  This brought the total for the 8-month period to August at 1.85 million MT, representing a rise of 31.1%.  Experts said, one of the main drivers was an estimated rise in demand for palm oil within China’s food sector, which in turn was due to the Chinese government’s clamp down on the use of GM (genetically modified) products which are especially common soybean area.  

China’s consumption of palm oil is expected to rise be around 3.5% next year, according to Beijing Heyirong Group and commodities trade expert Zhou Shiyong at the MPOC webinar on palm oil markets in China recently.  He added that consumers have been buying more palm oil as they stay at home due to Covid-19 and cook at home more.

One of the likely reasons for this shift away from GM soybean oil is consumer-driven.  Research from the Beijing Institute of Technology found that on average 59% of the Chinese population (consumers, media, farmers, government officials) opposes GM foods.  Within this 61% of Chinese consumers oppose GM oil when they are aware it is genetically modified through food labels.  China imports over 70 million tons of soybeans, of which over 90% is GMO.  The researchers also found that on average 64% of the population and 65% of consumers actually are not aware that foods bought or consumed could contain GM ingredients. 

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