Setting up any kind of business is indeed a challenging task, isn't it? But don't worry; if you're looking to start a vegetable oil mill in South Africa, we can help. We can guide you on the seamless paths that can help you establish your edible oil business in South Africa easily. But why start an edible oil business?

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Because according to Statista, the edible oil market revenue in South Africa will amount to US$239.80 million in 2023. And further, it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.16% between 2023 and 2028.

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So, if you are a startup founder, entrepreneur, or individual looking to start an edible oil business in South Africa, then this is the right time to embark on this venture. However, starting an cooking oil business in South Africa requires specific considerations and insights into the production, consumption, and distribution of different oilseeds.

According to the report, assuming normal weather conditions, South Africa may achieve a soybean crop of approximately 2 million metric tons in 2022-2023. On the other hand, a sunflower seed may achieve a crop of around 910,000 metric tons in the marketing year 2022-23.

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Consequently, the total oilseed production in South Africa could achieve a historically high level of 2.9 MMT, surpassing the estimated record oilseed crop of 2.8 MMT in the 2021/22. While considering the consumption, South Africa is expected to consume a record 2.6 million metric tons (MMT) of oilseeds, driven by increased domestic oilseed production.


So, after knowing the potential of the edible oil market in South Africa, let us discuss the step-by-step process to begin an edible oil business in South Africa.

How to start a cooking oil business in South Africa?

Establishing an edible oil business in South Africa necessitates careful planning, thorough research, and access to the appropriate resources. However, developing a robust business requires a strategic approach that keeps your business ahead and helps you achieve sustainable growth.

So, here are the strategic steps to start an vegetable oil business in South Africa:

Make thorough research about various edible oil in South Africa

Understanding the market demands, needs, and requirements thoroughly helps you adopt the market quickly. Moreover, knowing the market's depth will assist you in making easy decisions on resource management, production capacity, and product diversification.

As a startup owner or entrepreneur, you should be aware of the market for edible oil in South Africa and which types of oilseeds or cooking oil’s demand is higher. According to the report, the demand for sunflower oilseeds is higher in South Africa than for soybeans due to their higher yielding capacity.


Hence, conducting in-depth research in various areas will not just make your business run smoother but will also help you achieve your goals faster.

Legal regulation consideration and licensing to start edible oil business in Africa

Edible oils have significant impacts on human lives; hence, to start an edible oil business in South Africa, you would need a trade license from authorities and business councils.

The entrepreneur or startup founder under the Health Act (1977) must possess a certificate of acceptability as per the Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises and the Transport of Food.

Ensuring proper licensing and adherence to regulatory standards not only aligns with legal requirements but also enhances the overall success and credibility of your edible oil business. Here are a few advantages of licensing and considering legal regulation to start an edible oil business:

  • Ensures that your business operates within the legal framework.
  • Ensures that your edible oil products meet specified quality criteria.
  • Having Halal, Kosher, and Trade license provides you with credibility, consumer trust, and broader market access.
  • Enhances your market access and potential for partnerships.
  • Make sure that your edible oil business complies with industry standards and regulations.

Operational planning for successful edible oil business

The operational planning stage includes finding the right land for the establishment of an edible oil plant, the installation of machinery, and financial management.

In this stage, the owner or founder of an edible oil business should look for diverse land that helps the business with seamless transportation, access to different resources, and smooth connectivity for the overall success of the edible oil mill.

Further, edible oil business founders should look for established and experienced edible oil factory manufacturers. Partnering with renowned edible oil refinery manufacturers helps you with top-notch solutions for your vegetable oil plant and provides you with an edge by ensuring the implementation of cutting-edge technologies and industry-leading practices. Moreover, while planning

Find source of the required materials and resources

In this crucial phase of an edible oil business set up in South Africa, you need to go beyond and above your potential to cultivate a partnership with suppliers. By fostering collaborative and sustainable sourcing relationships, you not only secure a stable supply chain but also contribute to the long-term resilience and ethical standing of your edible oil business.

Henec, to keep your business running for the long term and ensure a continuous and reliable flow of raw materials, invest time in understanding your suppliers' practices and values. It helps businesses with:

  • A stable supply chain that ensures a consistent and reliable flow of raw materials.
  • Builds collaborative and sustainable relationships contributes to the long-term resilience.
  • Engage with suppliers ethically enhances their reputation and ethical standing.
  • Provides valuable insights into industry trends.

Distribution and logistic management

Strategic and effective logistic management are key aspects of the edible oil business. Consider it as blood in the human body that circulates within the body and ensures the proper functioning of vital organs.

Similarly, logistics in the edible oil business circulates throughout the supply chain, connecting various elements for seamless operations and ensuring the timely and efficient movement of raw materials, finished products, and information.

Here are key considerations for optimizing distribution and logistics:

  • Develop a comprehensive distribution strategy aligned with business goals.
  • Implement efficient inventory control systems to minimize holding costs.
  • Choose strategically located warehouses to reduce transportation costs and enhance accessibility.
  • Select reliable and cost-effective transportation methods based on the nature of the products and destination.
  • Utilize logistics management software for route optimization, order tracking, and performance analytics.
  • Provide accurate and timely information to customers regarding order status and delivery schedules.
  • Identify potential risks in the supply chain and develop contingency plans.

Estimate the cost of developing edible oil mill

The common question that arises while planning or setting up an edible oil business is What does starting an edible oil business in South Africa cost? However, estimating the exact cost of setting up a business is a complex task as it requires an evaluation of various aspects that include land, machinery, equipment, logistics, labor costs, marketing, software, and technologies.

However, using our previous experience, we have prepared an estimation to cost of developing an edible oil plant. Refer to the table mentioned below:

Various cost Medium-scale edible oil plant Large-scale edible oil plant
Intial Investments $1.4M to $4.5M USD $6M to $12M USD
Operational Cost $500,000 to $1.5 million USD per year $2 million to $5 million USD per year
Expected ROI 1.5 to 2 years 1.5 to 2 years
Annual Net Profit 12% to 22% 15% to 25%

Make sure you take this key consideration into account while making a plan and estimating the cost of developing an edible oil factory in South Africa.

Wrapping up

In this blog, we have covered valuable insights into the essential steps involved in launching a cooking oil company in South Africa. We explored the diverse opportunities within the South African market and delved into the potential revenues stemming from the lucrative edible oil sector.

Armed with knowledge on market dynamics, regulatory considerations, and strategic planning, aspiring entrepreneurs can embark on their journey with confidence.

However, with market dynamics and strategic planning, entrepreneurs and founders need to collaborate with reputable and advanced technology embedded in oilseed plant manufacturers. Their expertise and experience in the field of oilseeds, oils, and edible oil help you stay ahead in competition and ensure the success of your cooking oil business.


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Riyaz Tunvar

Riyaz Tunvar is a seasoned Director at N&T Engitech Pvt Ltd, specializing in sales and marketing for industrial plants, refinery, and machinery manufacturers. His deep understanding of the sector, combined with his customer-centric approach, has played a vital role in positioning N&T Engitech as a trusted name in the market.

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