`Spain Pulls Ahead in Olive Oil Sales to China - Olive Oil Times

Spain Pulls Ahead in Olive Oil Sales to China

Mar. 22, 2011
Tom Baker

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The bat­tle for dom­i­nance within China’s olive oil mar­ket is still very much under­way but Spanish pro­duc­ers are now said to be push­ing ahead. The Chinese are the world’s lead­ing importers of olive oil and until recently the main bulk of their sup­ply had come from Italian producers.

According to the Spanish news agency, El Mundo, the bal­ance has now tilted toward Andalusia, with Spain man­ag­ing to secure almost half (49 per­cent) of China’s olive oil imports. Andalusia, as Spain’s lead­ing pro­ducer of oil, is said to account for 82 per­cent of Spanish vir­gin and extra vir­gin olive oil pur­chased by the Asian giant.

Over the years Andalusia has suc­cess­fully grown its exports to China. 2009 saw sales to Chinese mar­kets reach 14.5 mil­lion euros, a fig­ure that was up 50 per­cent com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year and almost six times greater than fig­ures recorded in 2005 when Spain first began its Chinese campaign.

China is an inter­est­ing mar­ket for olive oil pro­duc­ers. Although it has been argued that gen­eral con­sump­tion within the coun­try is not huge, the opin­ion is widely held that as Chinese con­sumers become more knowl­edge­able of the prod­uct, demand will rapidly increase. Education of con­sumers is a sig­nif­i­cant area in which the mar­ket­ing bat­tle can be quickly won or lost and this is some­thing that Spain, like so many other oil pro­duc­ing coun­tries, has been quick to recognize.

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Since 2005, Andalusian oil has been mar­keted with the tagline El sol de España en su mesa. Aceite de oliva de Andalucia (Spanish sun on the table. Olive oil from Andalusia). Spanish cam­paigns in China have focused both on the vari­ety of uses of Spanish oil as well as its proven health ben­e­fits. Extenda, who are lead­ing the cam­paign, have worked hard to spread the word about Spanish olive oil by invest­ing in adver­to­ri­als in lead­ing Chinese news­pa­pers, spon­sor­ing key culi­nary tele­vi­sion pro­grams and in car­ry­ing out hun­dreds of infor­ma­tion ses­sions and pro­mo­tions in super­mar­kets. In 2007 Extenda also launched a new web­site designed to build busi­ness pres­ence at the China oil fair.

According to mar­ket research car­ried out by the Spanish agency in Beijing and Shanghai, which make up China’s main cen­ters of olive oil con­sump­tion, 66 per­cent of peo­ple claimed to be aware of Spanish olive oil while 52 per­cent declared that they were con­sumers of Spanish oil brands. The research also showed that Spanish oil was con­sid­ered to be a high qual­ity prod­uct and that health fac­tors played a key role in con­sumer pur­chase deci­sions. Uses showed as rang­ing from being used as a dress­ing for cold dishes, to use in cosmetics.

One Spanish col­lec­tive that is hop­ing to ben­e­fit from Chinese cam­paigns is the Hojiblanca Group, which is made up of 51 smaller oil pro­duc­ing coop­er­a­tives in the Adalusian region. The group cur­rently makes up 12.5 per­cent of Chinese imports and aims to develop this to 20 per­cent. Another key Spanish pro­ducer, Castillo de Tabernas Almeria, is said to have signed an impor­tant dis­tri­b­u­tion deal in China, aim­ing to get its prod­ucts into key gourmet stores. The Almeria Company has also agreed to dis­trib­ute its oil to Chinese beauty salons under its brand Oleo Spa’, to be used in mas­sages and other beauty treatments.



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