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Sunflower oil is gradually conquering the world market. Over the past five years, there has been a tendency to increase imports of unrefined sunflower oil in world trade. During this time, the consumption of this product increased by 20%. The lion's share in world imports of sunflower oil falls on the European Union.
At the same time, Europe almost does not import refined oil. EU countries purchase crude oil.
The demand for sunflower unrefined oil in the EU is increasing every year. Thus, the import of sunflower oil in the European Union in July-March 2019-2020 amounted to 1 802 490 million tons, which is more than for the whole season 2018-2019.
Major suppliers of unrefined sunflower oil
Ukraine is a leader in terms of production of sunflower and sunflower oil. In 2019, according to the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture, 14.45 thousand tons of sunflower were harvested, which is 1.9% more than in 2018.
The European Union is the second major buyer of this product from Ukraine. A third of all exports of Ukrainian sunflower oil is carried out by EU countries.
Over the past five seasons, the EU's need for sunflower oil has grown from 1.4 million tons in 2015-2016 to 2 million tons in 2019-2020. More than 90% of this product in Europe supplies Ukraine.
According to the results of July-March 2019-2020, imports of this product from Ukraine amounted to 85%, 6% from Moldova and 4% from Serbia. The remaining countries account for only 5% of imports.
The main buyers of sunflower oil in Europe are the Netherlands (31%), Spain (23%), Italy (18%), France (7%), Poland (7%). Other countries account for 14% of imports of this product.
The main quality problems associated with sunflower oil are contamination and oxidation (rancidity) of the product. Sunflower oil has a relatively high oxidative stability (i.e. a long shelf life), but this stability depends on the extraction method and seed pretreatment. This condition is extremely important, that is, special attention should be paid to its observance at all stages of the production process, from harvesting to distribution.
Before starting production, the manufacturer must make sure that the raw materials (i.e. sunflower seeds) are fresh and that there are no long delays between harvesting and extraction. Sunflower seeds should also not contain sand, stalks, plant debris and other foreign materials.
Sunflower seeds should also be free of mycotoxins and harmful microbiological activity. This will avoid oil contamination. Aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin contamination are known to be a problem for many sunflower oil producers, and EU countries are closely monitoring these aspects.
The manufacturer must prevent contamination of raw materials by keeping grain and equipment clean.
He is also required to ensure proper storage and transportation.
Sunflower oil is usually transported in tank containers and flexible tanks or
containers. The manufacturer shall ensure that quality is maintained as follows:
- Thoroughly clean barrels or tanks before loading oil.
- Fill the tanks as much as possible to prevent rancidity due to exposure to oxygen.
- Filtering crystallizing substances from untreated sunflower oil; Crystallization in cold conditions can greatly affect quality.
- Ensuring the correct temperature range (5-26 C) during transportation; this is necessary to prevent hardening.
- Protection of cargo from moisture to prevent rancidity. The manufacturer must prevent the ingress of air, particles of rust, debris, sea water and self-heating of the product.
The manufacturer must ensure traceability of individual lots. For this, English is used for marking the goods, unless the buyer has indicated otherwise.
The labeling should include the following information:
- The product's name
- Manufacturer number or lot code
- Is the product intended for human consumption?
- Name and address of the exporter
- Country of origin
- Shelf life
- Net weight / volume in metric units
- Recommended storage conditions.