European Officials See Olive Oil Supplanting Butter, Vegetable Oil Consumption

E.U. officials said increased awareness of olive oil health benefits and reduced consumption of other edible oils would drive the trend.

Paris, France
By Paolo DeAndreis
Dec. 13, 2022 16:57 UTC
Paris, France

Producers will ben­e­fit from a steady increase in con­sumer aware­ness about olive oil’s health ben­e­fits cou­pled with the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the Mediterranean diet in the next 10 years, European Union offi­cials pre­dict.

In the bloc’s 2022 – 2032 medium-term out­look, the E.U. agri­cul­ture and rural devel­op­ment depart­ment also ana­lyzed how the growth of the olive oil mar­ket would impact com­pet­ing veg­etable oil mar­kets.

Olive oil is expected to increas­ingly replace veg­etable oils in food con­sump­tion par­tic­u­larly out­side the main pro­duc­ing coun­tries, dri­ven by a healthy image of olive oil, and an increas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the var­i­ous Mediterranean cuisines,” offi­cials wrote in the out­look.

See Also:As Most Consumers Find Ways to Cut Costs, Olive Oil Consumption Trends Higher

This trend is expected to con­tribute to the decline in demand for veg­etable oils and to affect but­ter con­sump­tion, espe­cially in home cook­ing and food ser­vices,” they added.

Officials pre­dict that the grow­ing demand for olive oil will also con­tinue to fos­ter the expan­sion of olive grow­ing in the main pro­duc­ing coun­tries.

Among other types of agri­cul­tural land, the area of olives for oil is expected to increase in line with pre­vi­ous trends (to reach close to 5 mil­lion hectares in 2032), with more areas to be cov­ered by irri­gated inten­sive sys­tems, espe­cially in Spain and Portugal, or to be con­verted to organic and qual­ity sys­tems, espe­cially in Italy and Greece,” the out­look authors wrote.

As a result, increas­ing olive oil con­sump­tion in the E.U. has become an estab­lished trend, with International Olive Council data show­ing a steep rise in con­sump­tion across most European coun­tries over the past three decades.

Germany’s con­sump­tion increased from 9,800 tons in the 1991/92 crop year to 76,900 tons esti­mated for 2021/22. In the same period, con­sump­tion in the Netherlands rose from 1,500 to 9,600 tons.

Many other E.U. coun­tries with lit­tle or no his­tory of con­sum­ing olive oil have also seen con­sump­tion rise sig­nif­i­cantly since 1991/92. For exam­ple, con­sump­tion in Poland went from 3,200 tons in 2003/04 to 12,000 tons in 2021/22.

In three decades, olive oil con­sump­tion in non-pro­duc­ing coun­tries in the E.U. has increased from 21,400 to 162,700 tons. In the same period, non-pro­duc­ing coun­tries out­side the European Union have seen their olive oil con­sump­tion grow four­fold, from 246,000 to 1.1 mil­lion tons.

In the next decade, E.U. offi­cials pre­dict that demand for veg­etable oils will be sig­nif­i­cantly affected by biodiesel pro­duc­tion, espe­cially rape­seed oil.

As a result, they antic­i­pate the sun­flower oil mar­ket to grow only in Hungary and Germany, with demand stag­nat­ing across the rest of the European Union.

The offi­cials said the decrease may hap­pen because of con­sumer pref­er­ences shift­ing toward more healthy oils, espe­cially in France.” Other than olive oil, demand for soy­bean oil is also expected to increase.

They pre­dicted that veg­etable oil con­sump­tion would decline from an aver­age of 22.1 mil­lion tons between 2020 and 2022 to 21.2 mil­lion in 2032 as other edi­ble oils replace them and bio­fuel demand dimin­ishes.

Given the efforts to reduce the use of palm oil, the types of veg­etable oils used in food are also expected to change (a 12.6‑percent increase for rape­seed oil, 27.5 per­cent increase for sun­flower oil, 23.5 per­cent decrease for soya oil and 35.7 per­cent decrease for palm oil),” the offi­cials wrote.

According to the report, in the next 10 years, E.U. coun­tries are expected to pro­vide suf­fi­cient agri­cul­tural out­put to sus­tain food secu­rity in the area.

The net food trade posi­tion of the bloc is expected to grow by 21 per­cent, with high-value food exports more than com­pen­sat­ing for imports of com­modi­ties such as veg­etable oils and ani­mal feed.”

According to the out­look authors, aver­age E.U. house­hold expen­di­ture for food is expected to drop 18 per­cent in the next decade.

While there are mea­sur­able effects on the E.U. food mar­ket due to the con­se­quences of the Covid-19 pan­demic and geopo­lit­i­cal uncer­tainty sur­round­ing the Russian inva­sion of Ukraine, the cur­rent record-high food infla­tion rates are not expected to per­sis­tently impact the aver­age shares of house­holds’ bud­get spent on food over the medium term.”

The offi­cials added that con­sumers would be more likely to spend more money on essen­tial food prod­ucts for cook­ing at home rather than reduce their over­all food con­sump­tion.

The broader socio-eco­nomic impacts of the recent eco­nomic crises remain uncer­tain, but they can poten­tially con­tribute to increas­ing inequal­i­ties and can cre­ate con­cerns for food afford­abil­ity and food secu­rity,” the out­look con­cluded.

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