`Spain Leads Olive Oil Exporters as Sales to Australia Jumped 30% in '09

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Spain Leads Olive Oil Exporters as Sales to Australia Jumped 30% in '09

Jun. 5, 2010
Daniel Williams

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Span­ish exports of olive oil to Aus­tralia reached some 30,746 tons dur­ing 2009 in a dra­matic 30 per­cent increase from the pre­vi­ous year’s fig­ures. Accord­ing to OFCOMES, Spain’s Office of Econ­omy and Com­merce in Syd­ney, Spain remains Australia’s prin­ci­pal provider of olive oil, dom­i­nat­ing 61% of the mar­ket quota.

Spain is cur­rently the world’s lead­ing exporter of extra vir­gin olive oil per ton­nage hav­ing sur­passed Italy for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, although pre­vi­ously in Aus­tralia, its Ital­ian neigh­bors have tra­di­tion­ally dom­i­nated the mar­ket. María Gor­riti, a chief adviser at Spain’s Office of Econ­omy and Com­merce in Syd­ney, sees Spain’s dom­i­nance in the Aus­tralian mar­ket as an impor­tant strate­gic win as Aus­tralia is now the largest per capita con­sumer of olive oil out­side the Euro­pean Union with 2.2 liters per per­son con­sumed annu­ally. At present, Aus­tralia remains a land of great oppor­tu­ni­ties for olive oil pro­duc­ing nations due to a grow­ing demand for health con­scious, organic, eco­log­i­cally-friendly food prod­ucts. With that said, these are still rel­a­tively low lev­els of con­sump­tion when com­pared to the stag­ger­ing fig­ures taken from within the Euro­pean Union: Greece’s per capita con­sump­tion soars at some 25 liters per per­son annu­ally while Spaniards con­sume 12 liters a year on aver­age.

And although Span­ish sales to Aus­tralia in 2009 did not reach the astro­nom­i­cal lev­els of 2007, when an incred­i­ble record-set­ting 42,828 tons of olive oil were exported to the Aussies, they did sur­pass those of 2008. Gor­riti has indi­cated that olive oil is becom­ing an increas­ingly impor­tant player in the Aus­tralian mar­kets due to its avid pro­mo­tion by some of country’s most famous chefs. This is hav­ing an indu­bitable influ­ence in the pop­u­lar­iza­tion of olive oil in gen­eral and with the sup­port of these chefs over the years, the Span­ish prod­uct in par­tic­u­lar has come to gain recog­ni­tion and pres­tige among Aus­tralian importers, dis­trib­u­tors, and the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion.

Accord­ing to Gor­riti, the Aus­tralian pop­u­lar per­cep­tion of Span­ish olive oil is def­i­nitely a pos­i­tive one, but there still exists a lin­ger­ing igno­rance about its many uses. Cou­pled with this, Aus­tralia is also home to a large num­ber of Ital­ian and Greek ex-pats who have con­tin­ued to be loyal con­sumers of olive oil from their native coun­tries. There­fore, to off­set these fac­tors, Spain has launched insti­tu­tional pro­mo­tional cam­paigns for Span­ish spe­cific oil through­out Aus­tralia under the slo­gan Love Olives and Olive Oil from Spain”. The cam­paign­ing has been pri­mar­ily inter­net-based although the mar­ket­ing cam­paign has included pub­lic posters and sub­way adver­tis­ing as well as a pub­lic spon­sor­ship of the La Mirada film fes­ti­val.

The web­sites and e‑campaigns offer Aus­tralian con­sumers infor­ma­tion on where and how to buy Span­ish olives and olive oil, explain the oil’s culi­nary ver­sa­til­ity and pro­vide data on its long-term health ben­e­fits when con­sumed reg­u­larly. This Span­ish mar­ket­ing cam­paign has embraced the new wave of inter­net mar­ket­ing fully, even launch­ing its own Face­book page. Gor­riti feels that in a large part, these Span­ish pub­lic rela­tions cam­paigns will be respon­si­ble for cement­ing Spain as the lead­ing exporter of olive oil to Aus­tralia in years to come.

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