Greeks Still World’s Top Olive Oil Guzzlers

By Julie Butler
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

Greeks Still Worlds Top Olive Oil Guzzlers | Olive Oil Times

Greece still leads the world in per capita olive oil consumption, with each person consuming nearly 18kg yearly, according to figures from the European Commission.

In a table of per capita olive oil consumption in the European Union for 2011/12, Greece is at the top with 17.9kg, followed by Spain with 12.6kg, Italy 10.9kg, Cyprus 7.5kg and Portugal 7.4kg.

And the just over half a million people who live in Luxembourg, one of the world’s financial capitals, lapped up an average of 2.7kg of olive oil each, to slip in next, ahead of the French and Maltese, who averaged 1.7kg per person.

Demand down in Spain

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Spanish Olive Oil Agency (AAO) show that domestic consumption in Spain continues to slide and is down 22 percent for the first seven months of this season (Otober 2012 to April 2013) compared to the same period last season, and 18 percent compared to the average for the four previous seasons. Exports are also 28 percent and 19 percent lower respectively.

According to the AAO’s market report, Spain had olive oil stocks of 757,000 tons at the end of April, after producing 612,900 tons this season – down 62 percent on 2011/12 – and importing 68,100 tons.

Producer prices in Spain

According to Spain’s POOLred price observatory, the average ex-mill price for olive oil in Spain for the last week of May is €2.51 a kilo, down from €2.69 for the last week of April, and €2.83 in the last week of March but nearly 85 cents above that of the middle of last year, when prices started to recover there.

Spanish olive oil producer Rafael Muela told Olive Oil Times he expected little movement in the spot price for olive oil in the next few months as people waited to see how the next crop would be.

“The flowers are increasing very fast and based on the appearance of some small fruit it looks like next year will be a very good one,” he said.

It that outlook held, prices would probably fall towards the end of the year, he said.

“We were afraid at the start of the year (when grower prices were about $3/kg), because we felt that even international consumption would fall.”

“We are comfortable at the current price nationally as at this level farms are profitable,” he said.

“We would sell a little bit more at a lower price but we have to take care of our farmers. We don’t need to drop down to the prices of last year or two years ago or we’ll lose farmers.”

“Maintaining them at the level now we make for a healthier sector and not only in Spain but these prices will also be good for farmers in California and other places.”

Muela, co-owner and senior marketing vice-president of Córdoba-based Mueloliva, said he did not think sales would pick up in the national market if the current price level held but at least they would be maintained or perhaps rise a little internationally.


Olive Oil Consumption in Europe 2011/12

Country
Consumption per capita (kg)
Consumption 2011/2012 (1000t)
Population in 2011
Greece17.9202.611309885
Spain12.6580.146152926
Italy10.966060626442
Cyprus7.56.3839751
Portugal7.47810572157
Luxembourg2.71.4511840
France1.7111.264994907
Malta1.70.7415832
Belgium1.213.411000638
Austria1.19.28404252
Ireland1.14.84570727
United Kingdom0.959.262515392
Slovenia0.91.92050189
Sweden0.98.49415570
Netherlands0.914.716655799
Denmark0.94.95560628
Latvia0.81.62074605
Germany0.76181751602
Finland0.52.75375276
Czech Republic0.5510486731
Estonia0.40.61340194
Slovakia0.31.85392446
Poland0.310.438529866
Lithuania0.30.83052588
Bulgaria0.31.97369431
Hungary0.22.19985722
Romania0.23.821413815

Source: IOC and statements of EM within the IOC and Eurostat balances


Sources:

Market report to April 30, 2013, from Spanish Olive Oil Agency (in Spanish)
POOlred price observatory


This article was last updated June 6, 2013 - 10:00 AM (GMT-5)

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