Sunflower oil sales overtake extra virgin olive oil

Sunflower’s growth has been driven by promotions

Sunflower has usurped extra virgin olive oil as Britain’s second-most popular cooking oil.

Sales of sunflower have surged 18.1% on volumes up 21.4% in the past year, while extra virgin olive oil inched up just 0.3% on volumes down 0.9% [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 17 February 2013].

And while olive oil producers have kept a lid on prices over the past year, many predict future rises are inevitable as stocks dwindle following last year’s disastrous Spanish olive crop.

“There’s real concern about a shortage in the final quarter of the year,” said Filippo Berio MD Walter Zanré. “If a good crop [in 2013] is going to reduce prices, it won’t happen until January.”

Sunflower’s growth has been driven by a huge increase in promotional activity, with the sector’s two biggest growers, KTC and Tesco own label, upping volume sold on deal by 400%.

Volume growth has also been boosted by the launch of larger packs. “Growth has been amplified by five-litre pack formats supported with multibuys,” said Nick Brownbill, marketing director at Edible Oils.