U.S. Sees Significant Growth in Organic Olive Oil Sales

In the past two years, organic olive oil sales in the U.S. have increased by ten percent while conventional extra virgin olive oil sales slipped.
Goldridge Organic Farms, California
By Daniel Dawson
Jun. 10, 2024 18:18 UTC

Organic olive oil sales are ris­ing in the United States. In con­trast, total extra vir­gin olive oil sales have slightly declined, accord­ing to indus­try data shared with Olive Oil Times by the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA).

Organic olive oil sales by vol­ume, 98 per­cent of which are extra vir­gin, increased by 7.2 per­cent in the 52 weeks end­ing April 24, 2024. Conversely, total extra vir­gin olive oil sales by vol­ume fell by two per­cent over the same period in the world’s sec­ond-largest olive oil-con­sum­ing coun­try.

I think a lot of peo­ple are real­iz­ing that there are many health ben­e­fits to eat­ing organic.- Stefanie Wickensheimer, project direc­tor, Rio Bravo Ranch

Looking fur­ther back, in the pre­vi­ous 52-week period, organic olive oil sales increased by 2.7 per­cent while total extra vir­gin olive oil sales remained sta­ble.

Outside of the U.S., organic olive oil sales are also expected to increase. According to mar­ket research, the global organic olive oil mar­ket is fore­casted to rise from $933 mil­lion in 2021 to $2.2 bil­lion by 2031, with an annual growth rate of nearly nine per­cent.

See Also:Italy’s Organic Food Sales More than Doubled in the Past Decade

The increase in organic olive oil sales is part of a broader trend. In its 2024 organic indus­try sur­vey, the Organic Trade Association said cer­ti­fied organic prod­uct sales grew to a record-high $69.7 bil­lion in the U.S. in 2023, an increase of 3.4 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year.

While Joseph R. Profaci, the NAOOA’s exec­u­tive direc­tor, cau­tioned data mea­sured in dol­lars could be mis­lead­ing if the fig­ures are not adjusted for infla­tion, which came in at 3.4 per­cent on an annu­al­ized basis in the U.S. in 2023, he agreed that organic olive oil con­sump­tion increases are part of a broader trend.

Extra vir­gin olive oil is not alone among food cat­e­gories in which organic sales are cur­rently out­pac­ing con­ven­tional sales in growth met­rics,” he said. Much of this is attrib­uted to the per­cep­tion that organic foods are health­ier for you and that they are bet­ter for the envi­ron­ment, which we know are both move­ments that con­tinue to gain pop­u­lar­ity in the U.S.”

This may be par­tic­u­larly applic­a­ble to olive oil because our shop­per is usu­ally more well edu­cated and afflu­ent than the tra­di­tional shop­per, and there­fore, they would likely be more inclined to be aware of these trends and able to afford the pre­mium paid for organic olive oil,” Profaci added.

Thierry Moyroud, the chief exec­u­tive of Deoleo North America, attrib­uted ris­ing organic olive oil sales to Walmart, the world’s largest retailer.

The big win­ner of every­thing that hap­pened in pric­ing, beyond olive oil, with the infla­tion that we wit­nessed in the last years has been Walmart,” he said. Walmart has a higher share of olive oil sales than any other organic retailer. When Walmart’s sales grow, so do organic sales.”

Moyroud believes another fac­tor behind the trend has been the bifur­ca­tion of the U.S. olive oil mar­ket.

What has hap­pened here is a polar­iza­tion due to pric­ing,” he said. At the bot­tom of the spec­trum, some house­holds are not buy­ing olive oil any­more” due to ris­ing prices at ori­gin and the impact of infla­tion on other house­hold sta­ples.

Organic olive oil, which tends to be more expen­sive, is bought by peo­ple with greater pur­chas­ing power. Even if prices rise, they are unlikely to stop buy­ing it,” Moyroud added. The house­hold buy­ing organic prod­ucts is less price sen­si­tive.”

While imports com­prise about 97 per­cent of U.S. olive oil con­sump­tion, organic olive oil pro­duc­tion is increas­ingly pop­u­lar in California. However, not all Golden State organic grow­ers and millers have seen the broader national trend in their sales.

Still, Stefanie Wickensheimer, the exec­u­tive assis­tant and project direc­tor at Rio Bravo Ranch, has noticed an increased demand for organic olive oil.

We get some cus­tomers who ask specif­i­cally if it is organic. I think a lot of peo­ple are real­iz­ing that there are many health ben­e­fits to eat­ing organic,” she said. No pes­ti­cides are involved in the farm­ing, result­ing in a safer prod­uct all around.”


However, Phil Asquith, the owner of Ojai Olive Oil, has seen the oppo­site trend.

If any­thing, people’s inter­est in organic seems to have flat­tened out or even decreased,” he said. People choose based on which olive oils they like more than which ones are cer­ti­fied.”

Asquith said that many of his cus­tomers and other olive oil con­sumers he knows are more con­cerned about qual­ity and prove­nance than organic cer­ti­fi­ca­tions.

They are more con­cerned with the oil being local, high qual­ity and from a com­pany they trust,” he said. All of our oils are organic, but not all are cer­ti­fied and labeled as such. The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion stan­dards and costs have become quite a bur­den, so we only cer­tify cer­tain prod­ucts, even though they all would qual­ify.”


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