COVID-19 impacted the global supply chain significantly across industries. Nationwide lockdowns around the world also caused a shutdown of the foodservice industry. While the foodservice picked up again in the form of delivery establishments, the supply chains still remained impacted significantly. As a result, just like any other industry, the UCO industry also suffered a steep decline in the last two years.
Despite the awareness about all sorts of biofuels and increasing preference for cleaner energy, it would have been difficult for the UCO industry to bounce back. It is only the re-establishment of the food service and revival of the edible oil production industry; that has led to the renewed demand for UCO post-pandemic.
Due to COVID, the industry witnessed a sudden decline in the CAGR for the Used Cooking Oil (UCO) industry in 2020. A steep decline of -12.46% as compared to year-on-year growth in 2017, 18, and 19, was not a very exciting prospect for the industry. At the same time, the renewal of the foodservice industry post-pandemic does indicate that despite the slump, the UCO market might show an average growth of approximately 7.76% from 2021 to 2028.
During the last few years, governments have launched initiatives, and policy-level decisions across the world, to encourage biodiesel and clean energy. For instance, the Indian govt had launched the RUCO (Repurposed Used Cooking Oil) app to collect oil in India. In 2019, it had also initiated a program in 100 cities in India, which would enable the UCO to be processed to produce biodiesel. However, 2020 thwarted these efforts and presented a significant setback in light of the pandemic.
Now that the pandemic seems to have ended, or at least slowed down significantly, these initiatives will pick up the pace again. Further, as more industries prefer to use high-quality biodiesel in lieu of petroleum diesel, the biodiesel market will create a demand for UCO, bringing new players (refineries, aggregators, UCO suppliers) to enter the market. As a result, the market will show growth again, despite the impact caused by the pandemic.
The Biomass Board of Research and Development, USA predicts that the global biodiesel supply will reach 50,334 million liters by 2025. This effectively means significant growth for the UCO industry, as UCO is the raw material the biodiesel industry needs.
To summarize, COVID-19 impacted the UCO industry just like any other. However, with the post-pandemic reopening of the market, supply chains reinstated, the food service and edible oil production picking up again; the UCO market seems to grow too. Slowly perhaps, but steadily for now.
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