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Spain Sees Largest Olive Oil Consumption Increase in Nearly a Decade

Olive oil consumption in Spain rose by more than three percent, the biggest increase since 2011. Falling prices and better education about extra virgin olive oil's health benefits are attributed to the increase.

Jul. 15, 2019
By Daniel Dawson

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A new report from Spain’s Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Food and Fish­eries showed that house­hold con­sump­tion of olive oil increased by 3.47 per­cent in 2018, the largest increase since 2011.

Con­sump­tion of vir­gin and extra vir­gin olive oil led the way, ris­ing by 9.2 and 7.2 per­cent, respec­tively. Con­sump­tion of non-vir­gin olive oil rose slightly, by only 0.2 per­cent.

Unión de Uniones attrib­utes these changes to the decline in prices… as well as to a greater knowl­edge and infor­ma­tion on the part of con­sumers of the ben­e­fits of extra vir­gin olive oil, which have yet to be strength­ened.- Union of Farm­ers’ and Ranch­ers’ Unions

Com­bined, the Min­istry esti­mates that olive oil rep­re­sented 64.9 per­cent – nearly two-thirds – of all veg­etable oil con­sumed in Spain last year.

One of the rea­sons that olive oil con­sump­tion is buck­ing the pre­vi­ous down­ward trend may be the dra­matic decrease in prices that Spain has expe­ri­enced this year.

See more: Olive Oil Con­sump­tion News

At this time in 2017, olive oil was retail­ing at an aver­age of €3.77 ($4.25) per kilo­gram, accord­ing to Poolred, an orga­ni­za­tion that tracks olive oil prices. Since then, prices have fallen by more than 40 per­cent, reach­ing €2.14 ($2.42) per kilo­gram, on aver­age, at the time of writ­ing.

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Spain’s Union of Farm­ers’ and Ranch­ers’ Unions attrib­uted the increase in con­sump­tion not only to the lower prices, but also bet­ter edu­ca­tion about the health ben­e­fits of olive oil.

Unión de Uniones attrib­utes these changes to the decline in prices… as well as to a greater knowl­edge and infor­ma­tion on the part of con­sumers of the ben­e­fits of extra vir­gin olive oil, which have yet to be strength­ened,” the orga­ni­za­tion said in a state­ment on its web­site.

In spite of drop­ping prices, the value of olive oil pur­chased by Spaniards slightly increased, ris­ing by 1.4 per­cent. Per­haps reflect­ing the lower prices, the value of vir­gin olive oil pur­chased increased the most, ris­ing by 3.8 per­cent, while value of extra vir­gin olive oil pur­chased rose by 2.5 per­cent. The value of non-vir­gin olive oil pur­chases, how­ever, fell by 6.5 per­cent.

The report also pointed out that the vast major­ity of peo­ple con­sum­ing olive oil, and other types of veg­etable oils, are older and that olive oil con­sump­tion among Spain’s young peo­ple remains quite low.

Accord­ing to data from the Min­istry, Spaniards aged 50 and older accounted for 71.7 per­cent of non-vir­gin olive oil con­sumed in Spain in 2018, 66.5 per­cent of vir­gin olive oil and 69.4 per­cent of extra vir­gin olive oil.

Mean­while, Spaniards under the age of 35 accounted for 5.6 per­cent of non-vir­gin olive oil con­sump­tion, 6.6 per­cent of 5.6 per­cent of extra vir­gin olive oil con­sump­tion.

The report offered no analy­sis as to why olive oil con­sump­tion among young peo­ple remains so low, but did state that cou­ples with older chil­dren, cou­ples with­out chil­dren and retired adults in the mid­dle class were most likely to pur­chase all three types of olive oil.





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