Oilseeds and Oil Market
in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has been one of the most prominent
countries in the processing of vegetable and animal oils and fats throughout many
years. The reason for it is the fact that the country possesses advantageous geographic
location, also because of the country’s agricultural background and entrepreneurial
spirit. Production of fats dates way back as early as the Middle Ages, at the
time there was a large number of oil mills in the Netherlands and butchers would
melt animal fats. Even the first margarine factory in the world was built in the
Netherlands in the year 1871. Since then the government has taken maximum advantage
of the excellent logistic possibilities in the Netherlands. One of the advantages
was the major development of the Rotterdam and Amsterdam ports. The country’s good
connections with the European hinterland also, offered great opportunities. The
scope of this industry and the accumulated expertise of the Dutch entrepreneurs
is exceptional and valuable for this specific matter.

The products of the oils and fats chain can be
found in a wide range of (consumer and industrial) products and economic sectors.
The Netherlands has played a key role in this diverse, and growing economic sector
for many years. Industry, trade, and service providers form a powerful and professional
chain. To maintain a good position in this chain, the Dutch companies invest in
sustainable development, expertise and innovation and they work together well. In
collaboration with chain parties, institutes, universities, government authorities
and social organizations, we work for a sustainable and internationally competitive

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The Netherlands as Global

The Dutch oils and fats industry is traditionally
internationally oriented. Mainly soybeans, rapeseed and sunflower seeds and tropical
oils (palm oil, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil) are processed in the county. The
crops are grown in different parts of the world which depend on climatic conditions.
Soybeans are grown primarily in North and South America, palm oil comes from Southeast
Asia (especially Indonesia and Malaysia), sunflower seeds from Eastern and Southern
Europe, and rapeseed comes mainly from the European Union, as well as from Canada,
China, and Australia (MVO – Dutch oils and fats industry report, 2013). Other types
of vegetable oils such as olive oil, linseed oil, peanut oil, rice oil, castor oil
and sesame oil can also be shown as examples of oils that go through processing
and are marketed in the Netherlands.

Crude vegetable raw materials usually arrive by
boat in Dutch ports as seeds or after initial processing in the country of origin.
Given this, it is not at all surprising that the Dutch companies have a strong interest
in an unrestricted import of raw materials to the European Union, the abolition
of export duties and barriers, and trade liberalization. Animal fats form the second
flow of raw materials. Slaughter by-products (mainly from Dutch abattoirs which
slaughter, for example, cattle and poultry for human consumption) and imported fish
oil (e.g. sardines or herring) are processed by rendering plants, refineries, and
fat compounders (for compound fats).

Economic Significance
of the Industry

Overall, the Dutch oil and fat industry represented
a production value of € 6.1 billion according to the data of 2013 and it is very
important for the Dutch economy. It is one of the largest agricultural sectors in
the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a leading producer of refined oils and fats
and of natural oils and fats processed in various ways. The Dutch oil and fat industry
has a leading position in Europe and this makes the country a key world-class player.
With an import of about 11.8 million tons and an import value of € 7.1 billion in
2013, and the Netherlands is currently Europe’s second largest importer of oil seeds,
oils, and fats. 98% of raw materials are imported and more than 2/3 of these raw
materials originate from outside the European Union (MVO – Dutch oils and fats industry report, 2013).


Sustainability of the

The Dutch government encourages the recycling
of oils and fats. The collection of used fats contributes to a better environment
and on one hand it is because used frying fats don’t end up in the sewers where
they can cause huge damages, and on the other hand because used frying fat and cooking
oil can be given a second life as biofuel which is considered as a common practice
in Europe. In 2012 the Dutch government launched the campaign, named ‘Recycle Frying
Oils’, which aims to reclaim 10 million kilograms of used frying fat from consumers
in 2020 (MVO – Dutch oils and fats industry report, 2013). This is half of all the
frying fat used in homes. Currently 40% of this target has already been achieved.
Biodiesel production contributes to achieving the government’s sustainability
objective of obtaining 10% of all energy for transport from renewable sources in
2020. The total Dutch biodiesel production in 2013 was 1.4 million tons. (MVO –
Dutch oils and fats industry report, 2013). All of the raw materials meet the requirements
of the EU


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