`Spain Replaces Italy as Top Olive Oil Exporter to the U.S. and Japan - Olive Oil Times

Spain Replaces Italy as Top Olive Oil Exporter to the U.S. and Japan

By Olive Oil Times Staff
Aug. 12, 2014 12:18 UTC

For the first time in his­tory Spain has over­taken Italy as the world’s top olive oil exporter in two key mar­kets, the United States and Japan, accord­ing to a report issued Monday by the Spanish orga­ni­za­tion Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva.

The report indi­cates that dur­ing the first six months of 2014, the United States imported a total of 159,023 MT of olive oil, 45.14 per­cent of which (71,800 MT) was of Spanish ori­gin. Japan, mean­while, imported 12,953 MT of Spanish olive oil, 47.08 per­cent of its total imports. The United States and Japan are cur­rently the world’s sec­ond and sev­enth olive oil importers, respec­tively.

For years the EU nation has held the title as the world’s top pro­ducer and exporter of olive oil. However, this year the com­bined fac­tors of a record har­vest (1,774,200 MT) and lousy results in Greece, Italy, Tunisia and Morocco have helped Spain achieve new mile­stones such as this one, which Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva says it has been chas­ing for decades.

In fact, 20 years ago Spain was only third on the list of olive oil exporters to the United States, with a vol­ume of around 7,500 MT. In the first half of 1995, Spain exported a mere 1,759 MT to Japan.

Now we are not only global lead­ers but we are also able to pro­vide that lead­er­ship in mar­kets where we began with a notable dis­ad­van­tage,” said Rafael Pico, spokesman for Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva.

Spain has also made great strides in pro­mot­ing the qual­ity of its olive oil, over­tak­ing Italy this year as the coun­try to bring home the most awards in the 2014 New York International Olive Oil Competition.

We’ve beaten Italy in the U.S. and Japan, but let’s not obsess over it,” Pico added. Spain has led in the Southeast Asian mar­kets for a long time. In coun­tries like China and India there’s a grow­ing mid­dle class eager to con­sume high-end prod­ucts.”

Pico explained that Spain now has its eyes set on Germany, a mar­ket where Italy con­trols 80 per­cent of the total 50,000 MT imported annu­ally com­pared to Spain’s 10 per­cent.


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