Companies in this industry manufacture oils through wet-milling corn (separating corn into its basic components); processing soybeans, tree nuts, and vegetables into oil; refining vegetable fats; and blending vegetable fats with purchased animal fats. Major companies include Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill, CHS, and Ingredion.
The US edible oils manufacturing industry includes about 200 companies with combined annual revenue of about $65 billion. The edible oils manufacturing industry doesn't include companies that render or refine animal fats, wet-mill corn into ethyl alcohol, or mill-dry corn for flour.
Demand is driven by consumer trends in consuming sweeteners, fats, and food oils, and in eating meat, since soybean meal is used to feed poultry, swine, and cattle. The profitability of individual companies depends on managing raw material costs, leveraging federal farm subsidies, and operating efficiently. Large companies have advantages in purchasing, distribution, and marketing. Small operations can compete effectively by serving a local market or offering specialized products. The US industry is highly concentrated: the eight largest companies account for about 80 percent of industry revenue.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Major products include soybean cake and meal; shortening and cooking oils; and corn sweeteners. Other products include margarine, butter blends, butter substitutes, and soybean oil.
To produce soybean meal and oil, beans are transported by truck or rail to a soybean processing facility. The beans are inspected, cleaned, and cracked to remove the hull. Rolling machines disrupt the oil cells, facilitating...