The largest Sicilian olive oil exporter to the United States said it would open a new multi-purpose facility in Landing, New Jersey.
The new 2,000-square-meter building includes the company’s warehouse, distribution, logistics and corporate office.See Also:Starbucks Expands Olive Oil-Infused Coffee Line to U.S. Stores
“The establishment of the new building, the warehouse, the office will improve our entire operation in the U.S.,” chief executive Salvatore Russo-Tiesi told Olive Oil Times. “We are now fully vertically integrated; we now handle all the pieces of our supply chain, from production to sale, distributors or retailers.”
“The new investment will also allow us to increase our business-to-consumer activities, to reach the consumer directly,” he added.
With its announcement, Bonolio becomes the most recent addition to a slow but steady trend of European producers opening U.S. facilities.
Last year, fellow Italian producer Certified Origins announced a $25 million investment in a new production facility in Virginia, where olive oil would be blended, bottled, packaged and distributed.
In 2019, Spanish olive oil giant Acesur announced it would open a new production facility in Virginia to avoid a 25-percent tariff applied to some packaged Spanish olive oil exports. The facility opened in 2021.
Bonolio already exports several of its extra virgin olive oils produced in Italy, Spain and Tunisia to the U.S.
However, a significant portion of the exports is its flagship Protected Geographical Indicator-certified Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, which is in more than 4,000 retailers nationwide, including The Fresh Market, Whole Foods Markets, Stop and Shop and Wegmans.
According to the company, Bono USA sells 500,000 liters of its PGI Sicilian oils annually. Russo-Tiesi added that the company sells an additional 500,000 liters of its other extra virgin olive oils.
However, Bonolio’s chief executive said he anticipates a challenging next few years for the company.
“We are going to have a couple of challenging years, as bad weather hit major producing areas across the Mediterranean,” Russo-Tiesi said. “Given the relative scarcity of the product, prices are undergoing an unbelievable rise.”
According to the International Olive Council, the United States will import an estimated 360,000 tons of olive oil in the 2022/23 crop year, slightly below the five-year average of 375,000 tons.
Overall, U.S. olive oil imports have steadily grown in the last decades. In 1990/91, olive oil imports reached just 90,000. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the U.S. is the world’s largest olive oil importer.
“The United States has seen a dramatic increase in healthy, good-for-you products, and nothing is better for you than olive oil,” Russo-Tiesi said. “That is what has driven this incredible growth. Apart from the challenges of the present moment, we expect such a trend to continue.”