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Top 5 most widely produced vegetable-based oils in the world (and it’s not olive oil or coconut oil)


Field of yellow flowers photo are of the rapeseed plant (brassica napu). Related to mustard and cabbage plants, a cultivar of rapeseed is what is used to make “Canola” oil.  Photo via Wikipedia commons.

There are so many different types of cooking oil available to consumers today — and it is quite easy to buy just about any type of cooking oil imaginable at your grocery store or through on-line merchants.

Olive oil continues to gain popularity in the U.S., and more recently, all things coconut, especially coconut oil is also gaining a lot of attention.

It got me wondering about the types of vegetable-based oils used around the world, and which type is the most popular.

Here is what I found out…

The the top 5 vegetable-based oils used world-wide are:

  • Palm Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Rapeseed (Canola oil)
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Peanut Oil

The list of top 9 by world consumption, in million metric tons and notes are below.

Oil source

World consumption

(million metric tons)


Palm 41.31 The most widely produced tropical oil, also used to make biofuel
Soybean 41.28 Accounts for about half of worldwide edible oil production
Rapeseed 18.24 One of the most widely used cooking oils, canola is a variety (cultivar) of rapeseed
Sunflower seed 9.91 A common cooking oil, also used to make biodiesel
Peanut 4.82 Mild-flavored cooking oil
Cottonseed 4.99 A major food oil, often used in industrial food processing
Palm kernel 4.85 From the seed of the African palm tree
Coconut 3.48 Used in soaps and cooking
Olive 2.84 Used in cooking, cosmetics, soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps


Note: This data is for world consumption of oils used for cooking (blends), for straight vegetable oils, for oils to make biodiesel, for oils in industrial use and animal feed use. Information Source: USDA, Table Source: Wikipedia

Were you surprised — as I was — to see coconut oil and olive oil ranked #8 and #9, respectively, and not in the top five?


Can you tell we love using old plant prints on our blog posts and pages? This one is of the rapeseed  plant (for “Canola” oil), a print from 1896 by Franz Eugen Köhler

Did you know….

  • Rudolf Diesel (the German inventor of the diesel engine) originally designed his engine to run on peanut oil.
  • “Canola” oil — made from the rapeseed plant — got its name from the Canadian researchers who developed a variety used for cooking oil sold in the market today.  The name “canola” was coined from “Canada Oil low acid”.   Definitely better sounding than “rapeseed”.


California Millers Blend Olive Oil

Do you have a favorite oil to use in your household?

In our kitchen, we primarily use extra virgin olive oil, and do keep corn oil on hand for frying or if we need an oil that can tolerate cooking in higher temperatures.

For everyday cooking, we use the California Olive Ranch “Bold & Peppery” Miller’s Blend extra virgin olive oil. 

As the name implies, the olive oils are from California sources, since after all, we are based in California.  It’s delicious!

And if you are looking for the perfect earth-friendly gift bag for the next time you give a gift of delicious olive oil to your host or hostess, or for a housewarming present, be sure to check out our handcrafted and sustainably made olive oil gift bags on our market pages.  — mj

natural packaging olive oil bags

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