`Drop in Olive Oil Consumption in Europe Blamed on Harvest Woes, Higher Prices - Olive Oil Times

Drop in Olive Oil Consumption in Europe Blamed on Harvest Woes, Higher Prices

Mar. 9, 2016
Erin Ridley

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According to the lat­est report by the International Olive Council (IOC), world­wide con­sump­tion of olive oil has gone up 1.8 fold since 1990/1991, and pro­vi­sional num­bers reveal an increase of 4.6 per­cent over the course of the last year.

This rise in con­sump­tion is largely due to non-IOC mem­ber coun­tries, whose share of olive oil con­sump­tion jumped from 11 per­cent to 24 per­cent dur­ing the same 25-year time frame.

Recording the largest increase within that group is the United States, where con­sump­tion went from 88,000 met­ric tons in 1990/1991 to over 300,000 in 2015/2016. US con­sump­tion per capita, how­ever, still remains rel­a­tively low at .9 kg in 2014, a quan­tity on par with coun­tries like Canada and Norway, the IOC reported.

Over the same time period, the EU’s over­all con­sump­tion — which is dom­i­nated by pro­duc­ing coun­tries Spain, Italy and Greece — climbed slightly reach­ing highs in 2004/2005 before steadily drop­ping again.

Greece still leads the pack in annual per capita con­sump­tion at 12.8 kg in 2014 (fol­lowed by Spain at 11.4 kg, and Italy 10.5 kg) but con­sumes roughly 50 per­cent less by vol­ume now than it did in 2004/2005.


While some of the EU’s trends are in part due to other fac­tors (in the case of Greece, the eco­nomic cri­sis), a likely con­trib­u­tor to the recent drops in pro­ducer-coun­try con­sump­tion is the lower pro­duc­tion in recent har­vests and the result­ing higher prices.

For exam­ple in 2005/2006 and 2014/2015, data show that EU pro­duc­tion dropped and prices spiked. The lat­ter of these two har­vest sea­sons cor­re­lates with a drought year in Spain, and the effects of Xyllela fas­tidiosa in Italy, both clearly tak­ing a toll on over­all out­put.

Non-pro­duc­ing coun­tries within the EU are con­sum­ing slightly more over­all, as well, though the major­ity of these nations don’t con­sume more than 1 kg per capita annu­ally.

Meanwhile, growth among other IOC mem­bers, such as Turkey, Morocco and Algeria, has been notable (over nine fold in Algeria), with per capita con­sump­tion for each coun­try sit­u­ated at under 4 kg annu­ally.

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