Poor Olive Harvests in Europe Lead to Boom in Exports From Mendoza

Olive oil sales in Mendoza doubled this year, mostly to Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United States, Mexico and Spain.

Olivicola Simone
Jan. 30, 2018
By Daniel Dawson
Olivicola Simone

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Olive oil exports have quadru­pled in the past five years in the Argentinian province of Mendoza, accord­ing to gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics.

The increase in exports in 2017 was, in part, due to the low har­vest in 2016 in Spain of fruit des­tined for the pro­duc­tion of olive oil.- José Luis Simone, Olivicola Simone

Producers in the west­ern province exported nearly 10,000 tons of bulk and indi­vid­u­ally pack­aged olive oil last year, up from nearly 5,000 tons in 2016.

The main des­ti­na­tions for the olive oil were Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United States, Mexico and Spain. Olive oil pro­duc­ers in the region attribute the increase in exports to bad years for pro­duc­ers in the European Union and a ris­ing demand in Brazil and the United States for olive oil.

The increase in exports in 2017 was, in part, due to the low har­vest in 2016 in Spain of fruit des­tined for the pro­duc­tion of olive oil,” José Luis Simone, the head of Olivicola Simone, said.

Olivicola Simone is an oil pro­ducer based in Mendoza. Simone said that an increased demand for canned olive oil and a grow­ing appetite for extra vir­gin olive oil in California also fac­tored into the increase in exports.


Here in Argentina, we export plenty of canned oil to Brazil… They are big con­sumers of canned goods and [we sold more oil] than usual last year,” he said. In addi­tion, one com­pany in California also imported a lot from us.”

According to ProMendoza, an orga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes exports from small and medium-sized busi­nesses, olive oil sales increased by more than 100 per­cent from 2016 to 2017.

Ana Stoddart, a busi­ness intel­li­gence ana­lyst at ProMendoza, said that olive oil exports to Spain and the United States dras­ti­cally rebounded from last year and made up a major­ity of the region’s increase in exports.

© Olive Oil Times | Data source: International Olive Council

The national exports of olive oil [to Spain and the US] have grown at rates above 100 per­cent,” she said.

The exported oil has increased in qual­ity as well. Last year’s exports were worth approx­i­mately $3,900 per ton com­pared with the $3,400 per ton in 2016.

In terms of qual­ity, Mendoza pro­duced oil that falls well within the International Olive Council reg­u­la­tions,” Simone said. Our very high oil qual­ity stan­dards are espe­cially appre­ci­ated by the North American mar­ket.”

Stoddart attrib­uted the aug­mented exports to the increas­ing stan­dard of the oil’s sen­so­r­ial qual­i­ties, which is sought after by olive oil con­sumers.

The organolep­tic prop­er­ties of oils is excep­tional with very good pub­lic accep­tance,” she said. The out­look for the sec­tor is pos­i­tive.”

This opti­mism for the future is wide­spread in the province. Simone sees the grow­ing demand for higher qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil in North America as very favor­able for Mendoza, pro­vided pro­duc­ers can keep up.

As more and more extra vir­gin olive oil is con­sumed, it will cause a more aggres­sive demand for fruit from the oil indus­try in the future,” he said.

However, Nicolás Piazza, the head of inter­na­tional nego­ti­a­tions at ProMendoza, warned that future demand will not solely be dic­tated by oil qual­ity.

When these vari­a­tions in exports occur, it is due, in part, to the har­vests, but also has to do with the per­for­mance of the inter­na­tional mar­kets,” he said.

Piazza believes that pro­duc­ers in Mendoza must con­cen­trate on South American mar­kets, such as Chile and Brazil in order to main­tain their for­ward momen­tum.

In 2018 we will focus on con­tin­u­ing to posi­tion Mendoza in large Brazilian mar­kets and encour­age sub-exploited regional mar­kets,” he said.

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