Humble rice bran becomes hot commodity as India scours for edible oils – Times of India

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Mumbai: rice bran has become a sought-after commodity in India as the world’s largest importer of vegetable oils tries to overcome a Edible oil shortage Due to global supply disruption.
A by-product in rice milling, rice bran has traditionally been used for cattle and poultry feed. In recent years, oil mills have begun to extract rice oil, which is popular among health-conscious consumers but has historically been more expensive than rival oils.
rice bran oil Industry executives say India accounts for a small proportion of total vegetarian consumption, but is the fastest growing among edible oils, and production and imports are set to increase to meet demand.
Recent rally in global edible oil Prices raised by Indonesia’s restrictions on palm oil exports and disruptions in sunflower oil shipments from Ukraine have erased rice bran oil’s traditional premium over rival oils. This has led to an increase in the demand for bran oil which has flavor properties similar to sunflower oil.
International Association of Rice Bran Oil (IARBO) general secretary BV Mehta said that due to less import of sunflower oil from Ukraine, consumers started replacing it with rice bran oil. India usually meets more than two-thirds of its sunflower oil requirements through imports from Ukraine.
Aditi Sharma, a Mumbai-based housewife said, “Due to COVID-19, I was on the lookout for healthier food options. I used rice bran oil for health benefits six months ago and since then I have been using it. Am.” Rice bran oil from sunflower oil.
“It is good in taste and good for health too,” Sharma said, referring to the cholesterol-lowering and anti-oxidative properties of the oil.
Rice bran oil is now trading at Rs 147,000 per tonne against sunflower oil of Rs 170,000.
According to data compiled by the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), rice bran oil typically commands a premium of around 25% over other oils, but has become cheaper than imported vegetable oils in recent months. , making it more affordable to the public.
Competitive prices from March boosted consumption of rice bran oil and encouraged companies to extract more oil.
Sharma said that even if the premium comes back, she will still buy rice bran oil for her family of four.
The demand for rice bran oil has become so strong that it has reversed economics for rice millers, who are now prioritizing bran oil production.
“For rice mills, instead of a by-product, now rice bran has become a staple product,” said Puneet Goel, chief executive officer of the Risela Group, the country’s largest producer of rice bran oil.
Goyal said that to meet the growing demand, Raisla is planning to increase the refining capacity from 600 tonnes to 750 tonnes per day in the next two months.
All India Rice Exporters Association President BV Krishna Rao said that with the shortage of vegetable oil, oil mills are ready to pay a record high price for bran.
The rice bran prices have increased from Rs 30,000 to Rs 36,000 per tonne for rice extraction as against the paddy prices of around Rs 19,000.
However, the lack of oil processors in all rice milling areas remains a major limiting factor on bran oil supply, as the rice bran has to be processed into oil within 48 hours after it is separated from the husk to be fit for human consumption. needed.
Currently only 55% of bran is processed, with the rest going to the low-priced feed market.
Still, with many oil processors maxing out production, the country is on course for a record bran oil production of 1.05 million tonnes this year, up from around 950,000 tonnes in 2021, which should help India reduce imports of rival oils .
Edible oil consumption in India has tripled in the past two decades as population has increased, incomes have increased and people have started eating more.
The country consumes about 23 million tonnes of vegetable oil annually, of which about 13 million tonnes comes from imports. Locally produced bran oil can meet about 5% of the total vegetarian consumption.
Companies such as Adani Wilmar, Emami and the Indian arm of Kargil have launched their own rice bran oil brands to meet the growing urban demand.
Himanshu Agarwal, executive director of Satyam Balaji, India’s largest rice exporter, said rice bran oil brands have become popular and consumer acceptance is increasing.
“This new segment is growing right now,” said Agarwal, adding that companies that previously offered primarily palm, soybean, sunflower and rapeseed oils are now launching rice bran oil products.
Raisla’s Goyal said institutional buyers like PepsiCo and Haldiram’s are also increasing the use of bran oil for roasting.
But local supply is not enough to meet the growing demand.
“Some companies are importing rice bran oil from Bangladesh, but even Bangladesh has limited surplus for exports,” said Mehta of IARBO.

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