As India searches for edible oils, humble rice bran becomes a popular item.

Rice bran oil accounts for a small percentage of total vegoil consumption in India . Industry sources say it is one of the fastest-growing edible oils, and imports are expected to rise to satisfy demand .

MUMBAI: Rice bran has become a well-liked commodity in India as the world's largest producer of vegetable oils struggles to cope with an edible oil shortage resulting from global supply disruptions.Rice bran has been used traditionally for cattle and poultry feed as a by-product of rice milling.Oil mills have begun extracting rice oil in recent years, which is favored by health-conscious consumers but is historically more expensive than competitor oils.Rice bran oil accounts for a small percentage of total vegoil consumption in India, but industry sources say it is one of the fastest-growing edible oils, and imports are expected to rise to satisfy the demand.

This has resulted in a rise in demand for bran oil, which has similar taste characteristics to sunflower oil.Consumers began converting sunflower oil with rice bran oil as sunflower oil imports from Ukraine plummeted, according to B.V. Mehta, secretary general of the International Association of Rice Bran Oil (IARBO).India consumes more than two-thirds of its sunflower oil requirements from Ukraine, according to the report.I was looking for healthier food options as a result of Covid-19.

According to Sharma, it tastes good and is good for your health, because of the oils' cholestrol-lowering and anti-oxidative properties.Rice bran oil is now priced at 147,000 rupees per tonne, up from 170,000 rupees for sunflower oil.Rice bran oil is typically sold for around 25% more than other oils, but according to statistics collected by the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), it has been cheaper than imported vegetable oils in recent months, making it more affordable for the masses.Since March, rice bran oil consumption has increased dramatically, and companies have been encouraged to extract more oil.

The demand for rice bran oil has flipped the business models for rice millers, who are now placing the emphasis on bran oil production.Rice bran has now become a key ingredient for rice mills, according to Puneet Goyal, CEO of Ricela Group, the country's largest producer of rice bran oil.Ricela said that to meet increasing demand, the company will increase oil refining capacity to 750 tonnes per day in the next two months from 600 tonnes.Oil mills are ready to pay record high prices for bran because of a vegetable oil shortage, according to B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association.

However, a shortage of oil processors in all rice milling zones remains a major limiting factor in bran oil supply, as rice bran must be ground into oil within 48 hours of being separated from chaff in order to be suitable for human consumption.Only 55% of bran is now processed, with the remaining 25% going to the lower priced feed market.Despite this, with many oil processors maximising output, the country is on target to produce 1.05 million tonnes this year, up from 950,000 tonnes in 2021, which should help India reduce imports of rival oils.As the population increased, incomes increased, and people began to eat out more, edible oil consumption in India trebled in the last two decades.

Brann oil produced in the area accounts for around 5% of total vegoil intake.To meet rising urban demand, companies such as Adani Wilmar, Emami, and Cargills Indian unit have developed their own rice bran oil brands.Consumer acceptance has increased, according to Himanshu Agarwal, executive director of Satyam Balajee, India's biggest rice exporter.This fresh segment is only getting better, Agarwal said, adding that companies that once offered mostly palm, soybean, sunflower, and rapeseed oils were now offering rice bran oil products.

However, local supplies aren't sufficient to meet the growing demand.Although Bangladesh has a small surplus of rice bran oil to exports, a few companies are importing it from Bangladesh, said IARBOs Mehta.