`Chilean Olive Oil Continues Gains - Olive Oil Times

Chilean Olive Oil Continues Gains

Jul. 7, 2011
Charlie Higgins

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Chile exported an unprece­dented 1,522 tons of olive oil dur­ing the first five months of 2011, mark­ing a 221 per­cent increase over the same period in 2010. The approx­i­mate value of these exports was $6.1 mil­lion, an increase of 131 per­cent.

According to Chile’s Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (ODEPA), the United States accounted for roughly 40 per­cent of sales for the South American country’s emerg­ing olive oil mar­ket, up 8 per­cent since 2006. Bulk orders make up the major­ity of exports to the U.S.

Gustavo Rojas, direc­tor of ODEPA, attrib­uted the boost in olive oil exports this year to the con­stant hard work” of the 47 pro­duc­ers that make up the orga­ni­za­tion ChileOliva.

He also cited ChileOliva’s big win at the Corfo Sectoral Brands Competition last October, which pro­vided the group with $1.9 mil­lion towards the design and imple­men­ta­tion of a strate­gic mar­ket­ing cam­paign in the coun­try of their choice.

We chose the United States because it’s our biggest mar­ket,” explained gen­eral man­ager of ChileOliva Iris Carmona back in October. Since then the group has worked to improve the image of Chilean olive oil in the eyes of for­eign con­sumers, par­tic­u­larly Americans. They took cues from the suc­cess­ful national cam­paign that helped gar­ner world­wide acclaim for Chilean wines in recent decades.

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Spain, Brazil and Venezuela were among the other top export des­ti­na­tions for Chilean olive oil in 2011. The pop­u­lar­ity of Chilean oils in Spain is par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy given that the coun­try is the world’s lead­ing pro­ducer of olive oils.

The suc­cess of Chilean oils has also been aided by var­i­ous inter­na­tional prizes received at com­pe­ti­tions like Terraolivo, Oil China, Sol de Oro, Armonia and the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition this year.

Although Chile’s national olive oil indus­try has been active since 1952, it wasn’t until the late 90s that the coun­try began to invest heav­ily in this sec­tor and develop mar­ket­ing strate­gies for expor­ta­tion. By 2004 Chile had devel­oped a total of 3,700 hectares olive-grow­ing land and built 20 mills pro­duc­ing upwards of 1,500 tons of extra vir­gin oil per year. Today Chile boasts over 20,000 hectares of olive-grow­ing land capa­ble of pro­duc­ing roughly 8,500 tons of oil per year. Chile is expected to have over 35,000 hectares of olive vine­yards by the year 2014.

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