` Dalmia Cites India's Growing Demand for Olive Oil


Dalmia Cites India's Growing Demand for Olive Oil

Nov. 12, 2012
By Vikas Vij

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VN Dalmia (OOT File)

Indian Olive Asso­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent VN Dalmia has announced that the country’s olive oil import vol­umes are expected to reach 10,000 tons this finan­cial year, rep­re­sent­ing a jump of nearly 45 per­cent over the pre­vi­ous year. The surge in imports comes on the back of strong growth in con­sump­tion of olive oil in major Indian cities such as New Delhi and Hyder­abad, he noted.

In the 2011-12 finan­cial year, the total import vol­ume of olive oil in India stood at 6,900 tons, about 80 per­cent of which came from Spain and Italy. For the April-June quar­ter in 2012, the imports were 2,300 tons, which gave rise to opti­mism about the grow­ing demand for olive oil.

While table olive imports were largely sta­ble last year, they have shown sig­nif­i­cant growth in 2012. Table olive imports in 2011 totaled 625 tons, but it has already reached 616 tons dur­ing the first eight months of 2012.

Accord­ing to Dalmia, North India is a key mar­ket wit­ness­ing a sharp growth in demand for olive oil. Broadly speak­ing, North India is the largest con­sumer of olive oil and the split is 50:50 between Delhi and the rest of North India. It is fol­lowed by South India where Hyder­abad is the biggest con­sumer fol­lowed by Ban­ga­lore and Chen­nai. In West India, Mum­bai is the largest con­sumer,” he said.

Despite the encour­age­ment, 10,000 tons is an astound­ingly small amount for such an immense pop­u­la­tion — around 1 1/2 tea­spoons per year for each per­son — and most of the olive oil” imported into the coun­try isn’t tech­ni­cally olive oil at all, it’s olive pomace oil.

Olive pomace oil is the low­est edi­ble grade of oil which is derived from olive oil pro­duc­tion byprod­ucts in the same refin­ing process used to make canola and other seed oils. Inter­na­tional stan­dards do not clas­sify it as a type olive oil” — it is in its own class. While olive pomace oil would still be a step up for Indi­ans who have tra­di­tion­ally used unhealthy seed oils like coconut and peanut oils (and con­se­quently have the world’s high­est rate of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases), there are crit­ics who say Indi­ans deserve bet­ter.


Spain, Italy and Turkey are the three pri­mary sources for India’s olive oil and olive pomace oil imports. Greece, Syria and Tunisia have smaller shares.

Leonardo, Figaro and Borges (includ­ing Cesar) are three lead­ing brands that account for more than 60 per­cent of the annual retail sales across the coun­try. RS, Bertolli, Del Monte, Fra­gata, Colavita and Athena are some of the other top brands sell­ing in the Indian mar­ket.

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