| |AUGUST 202019Thought CentralC OVID 19 is an unprecedented event in our times. The outbreak of this pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill. Physical distancing is the only known measure to control the outbreak. Most of the businesses have faced disruptions and started working remotely & few busi-nesses have shut their operations temporarily. In this scenar-io, Social Distancing, personal protection, maintenance of hy-giene & sanitization, healthy eating, and living a healthy life are emerging as the new buzz words in society. We are forced to adopt the new Normal to stay safe and relevant.With, humanity in lock-down, the essential commodities like wheat, rice, pulses, edible oils, cleaning products, hand sanitizers, masks, etc. are in demand. It has always been a challenge to ensure the last mile availability of the product NAVIGATING A NEW TERRAIN IN EDIBLE OIL SECTOR DURING COVID -19 PANDEMICBy P Chandra Shekhara Reddy, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Gemini Edibles & Fats India Private Limitedand the customer preference for the same. With the coro-navirus crisis intensifying the situation, the cycle of food production to processing to marketing and consumption have faced even greater challenges. The pandemic has created awareness of the fact that our food systems are vulnerable & the producers & marketers, need to upgrade technology and innovate to stay available and relevant to the customers.CONSUMPTION TRENDS IN EDIBLE OIL:Edible oil is an essential commodity, used for every day cooking in households and all F&B outlets. People have dif-ferent preferences for edible oils, governed by their prefer-ences for health, flavor, aroma, etc. In Southern India, the preferred edible oil is Sunflower besides specific prefer-ence for Mustard, Groundnut, and Coconut oils, where-as commercial outlets prefer Palmolien Oil. Soyabean Oil is preferred in North India. On average, the per-capita consumption of edible oil in India is about 15-16 L/Year almost 1.25 L per person per month. This consumption is irrespective of the environ-mental factors. Therefore even during the COVID ­ 19 pan-demic, the demand for edible oils got effected only margin-ally. However, a significant shift was observed in the edible oil consumption pattern, particularly in the geographies that we operate in. The edible oils are consumed primarily by these three segments:1. Hotels / Restaurant / Events & Catering Institu-tions (HoReCa Segment) ­ Absolutely zero demand since lockdown. Now with unlock 1.0, the business is beginning to pick-up. However, it is too early to comment on the trends.2. Industry demand (Bakery & Snacks) ­ it has start-ed getting normal post 1st week of April 2020 3. Commercial Side - Both these segments form the commercial side of edible oil consumption. There is a drop in demand (primarily Palm Oil) as all hotels, the restaurant is closed. Also, there is no demand for catering and weddings, etc. as they are not allowed/ allowed with restrictions during the COVID-19 pan-demic lockdown. Some industries like bread & bakery products etc. are functioning normally.4. Home segment ­ This sector has seen an increase in demand by 15% due to the lockdown. This increase in demand is essentially triggered by the fact that people are preferring to cook at home. The dine-out option is restricted and food home deliveries are re-stricted, encouraging people to cook at home. This has
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