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