Turkey is the world’s fourth largest producer of olive oil, with an average share of global production between 7 and 10 percent. The Aegean region is home to about 76 percent of the country’s 85 million olive trees. However, when it comes to per capita consumption of olive oil, Turkey is far behind the other major olive oil producing countries.
Spain, Italy and Greece consume around 10 kilograms, 12 kilograms and 25 kilograms of olive oil per capita per annum respectively. In sharp contrast, Turkey consumes barely one kilogram indicating the need to create an effective marketing and awareness campaign in Turkey to promote olive oil.
Turkish consumers are slowly making a shift to olive oil due to an increased awareness about its health benefits but, according to Metin Olken, the president of Olive Oil Promotion Committee in Turkey, the country has a long way to go in terms of improving consumption, and serious marketing efforts are required to spur the demand for olive oil.
Olken points out that the wide prevalence of unbranded olive oil in the Turkish market makes it difficult to make a correct assessment of the country’s olive oil consumption. The coastal regions of Turkey have traditionally been better consumers of olive oil, but now the consumption levels are gradually rising in the interior regions such as Anatolia as well.