Over the last decade total production of oils and fats has grown by over 40%. Production of the major oils, derived from palm, soybean, rapeseed and sunflowerseed, grew by some 53% and accounted for some 98% of the increase in world output of all oils and fats.
Over this period, the production growth rates for the 17 major oils and fats varied considerably. Within the major vegetable oils, palm oil and palm kernel oil expanded by 69% and 56%, respectively, soybean oil by 41%, rapeseed by 35% and sunflower by 66%. Production of animal fats showed significantly lower growth at 12%, primarily due to their being by-products from processes serving other, slower-growing markets and marine oil production has reduced materially. The combined share of world production held by palm oil and palm kernel oil increased from 28% in 2007 to over 33% in 2017.
Production of oils and fats totalled 215 million tonnes in 2017 of which palm oil and soybean production were respectively 65 million tonnes and 53 million tonnes, thus together accounting for 55% of the total. Production of palm oil has grown faster than that of any other oil or fat and overtook soybean as the most produced oil in 2005.
Oil palm, oilseed rape and sunflower are the vegetable oil crops grown for their oil content and production of these has responded more directly to the changes in world demand for oils and fats. For the other major vegetable oil crop, soybean, the oil is produced as a by-product to soybean meal, a product that is directed at the world protein market.