New figures show olive oil consumption is down in Cyprus due to the economic crisis hitting the country.
According to a new study by the Greek Embassy in Cyprus, private consumption in Cyprus will fall by 15 percent by the end of the year.
That’s as the disposable income of the average Cypriot is estimated to fall by 20 percent by the end of the year as well.
In an interview with Olive Oil Times, Dr. Costas Gregoriou a Cypriot olive oil cultivation specialist and expert, said the financial crisis is indeed taking its toll on Cypriot food consumption habits.
“Cypriots now aren’t necessarily buying olive oil which was easier with more disposable income. Instead they are making it themselves. Before the crisis, they didn’t give a thought to the olive trees that grew in their towns or villages. Now, making olive oil is an easy way to save money,” said Gregoriou. He added that some Cypriots with even less disposable income are naturally using less olive oil in their daily meals.
The study also pointed out that since Cyprus entered the European Union in 2004, olive oil consumption has been mostly on the upswing with much of its olive oil being imported from Greece. The latest figures show that there has been a slight decrease in Greek imports last year.
“Olive oil remains an important part of our daily diet and Mediterranean culture,” Gregoriou said. “The economic crisis is changing how people are able to keep it as part of their daily meals. Some may simply turn to local resources while others will use less or opt to use other types of vegetable or cheaper seed oils in the meantime. Unfortunately, for some it may be a means of survival and keeping more cash available.”
The average price of imported virgin olive oil increased from 2.46 euros per kg in 2011 to 2.53 euros per kilo last year. At the same time, the average price of imported virgin olive oil from Greece also increased from 2.41 euros per kilo to 2.63 euros per kilo.
“It’s not just olive oil though. Other products aren’t seeing the same levels of consumption due to the crisis,” said Gregoriou.