Olive Oil Production and Consumption Down

The latest data from the International Olive Council for the 2016/17 campaign reveal a decline in olive oil consumption, particularly in Europe. but the outlook for the 2017/18 season is better.

By Daniel Dawson
Dec. 11, 2017 12:55 UTC

Olive oil pro­duc­tion in the 2016/17 grow­ing sea­son con­tracted by 20 per­cent com­pared with last year, accord­ing to a report from the International Olive Council (IOC).

The biggest decreases were in the European Union, Middle East and North Africa. EU pro­duc­ers expe­ri­enced a 25 per­cent decrease in pro­duc­tion.

In Spain’s Autonomous Community of Andalusia, which pro­duces more than two-thirds of Spanish olive oil, pro­duc­tion decreased by 15.8 per­cent.
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Some in the region attrib­uted this decrease to the lack of rain.

Meteorological fac­tors can affect the final har­vest,” Rodrigo Sanchez Haro, Andalusia’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, said.

It is not yet pos­si­ble to know how many olives will be left uncol­lected due to insuf­fi­cient qual­ity or yield, as well,” he said.

Italy expe­ri­enced a hot and dry sum­mer, receiv­ing 30 per­cent less rain than nor­mal. The lack of rain­fall through­out the entire region has been mostly to blame for the decrease in olive oil pro­duc­tion.

Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Croatia, France and Slovenia were among the other EU nations whose pro­duc­tion dipped.

In the rest of the IOC mem­ber nations, pro­duc­tion fell by 10 per­cent.

Countries in North Africa and the Middle East expe­ri­enced the largest of these pro­duc­tion decreases. The unusu­ally hot and dry sum­mer faced by the whole of the Mediterranean region was partly to blame, but in some coun­tries, polit­i­cal tur­moil hurt pro­duc­tion as well.

© Olive Oil Times | Data source: International Olive Council

Jordan (-32 per­cent), Tunisia (-29 per­cent), Israel (-17 per­cent), Morocco (-15 per­cent) and Libya (-11 per­cent) expe­ri­enced the largest declines in pro­duc­tion.

However, olive oil pro­duc­tion did not decline in every IOC mem­ber nation. Egypt (+21 per­cent), Turkey (+18 per­cent) and Lebanon (+9 per­cent) all expe­ri­enced sub­stan­tial increases.

In spite of opti­mism ear­lier this year about increased pro­duc­tion, Argentina expe­ri­enced a 10 per­cent decrease.


Global olive oil con­sump­tion was also down six per­cent over the same period.

Olive oil con­sump­tion in EU coun­tries fell by 12 per­cent with the largest decreases occur­ring in Greece, France and Italy. The United States and Canada also expe­ri­enced dips in con­sump­tion.

© Olive Oil Times | Data source: International Olive Council

However, Turkey, Brazil and China sub­stan­tially increased their con­sump­tion. Many China watch­ers believe the world’s largest nation will con­tinue to increase its con­sump­tion as a bur­geon­ing mid­dle class begins seek­ing higher qual­ity food items from abroad.

For the 2017/18 olive oil pro­duc­tion sea­son, the IOC pre­dicts that con­sump­tion will rebound, increas­ing by five per­cent.

IOC ana­lysts are pre­dict­ing a global increase of 14 per­cent com­pared with the 2016/17 sea­son.

EU nations are expected to increase pro­duc­tion by three per­cent. Italy (+76 per­cent), Greece (+54 per­cent) and Portugal (+14 per­cent) are all expected to expe­ri­ence robust increases in pro­duc­tion rebound­ing from this year’s set­backs.

However, Spain is fore­casted to con­tinue its pro­duc­tion decrease. The IOC pre­dicts the world’s largest olive oil pro­ducer will fall by 15 per­cent com­pared with this year.

Other IOC mem­bers are antic­i­pated to have much larger growth than the EU with pro­duc­tion pro­jected to increase by 51 per­cent.

Tunisia (+120 per­cent), Argentina (+74 per­cent), Turkey (+62 per­cent), Morocco (+27 per­cent) and Algeria (+27 per­cent) are all expected to have the largest pro­duc­tion increases closely fol­lowed by Jordan (+25 per­cent), Egypt (+25 per­cent) and Libya (+12 per­cent).

Lebanon is the only nation, other than Spain, where pro­duc­tion is pre­dicted to fall with an eight per­cent decrease.

No one at the IOC was avail­able to com­ment on the trends or pre­dic­tions.


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