Table Olive Sales Open Year Sharply Higher

Sales of table olives were sharply higher in China, Australia, Canada, Japan, and Brazil for the first two months of the current campaign, according to the International Olive Council, while olive oil prices have risen dramatically.

Feb. 11, 2017
By Stav Dimitropoulos

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The world eats more table olives.

Accord­ing to the lat­est infor­ma­tion from the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil (IOC), global con­sump­tion of olives has increased by 182 per­cent since 1990.

Most of the rise has occurred within the Mediter­ranean region where pro­duc­tion has fol­lowed demand. Egypt, Alge­ria, and Turkey over the period went from con­sum­ing 11,000, 14,000 and 110,000 tons to 400,000, 244,000 and 350,000 tons respec­tively.

In the Euro­pean Union, con­sump­tion over the same period rose by 78 per­cent, going from 346,500 to 618,000 tons. Spain, the largest Euro­pean pro­ducer, was also the main con­sumer per capita at 4.1 kg, fol­lowed by Cyprus with 3.1 kg, and Malta with 1.9kg.

Olive Oil Con­sump­tion Up in Key Mar­kets


There was some good news for the inter­na­tional sales of olive oil and olive pomace oil in the IOC num­bers per­tain­ing to the 2016/17 crop year. In the first two months (Octo­ber and Novem­ber 2016) con­sump­tion of olive oil and olive pomace oil rose in China (99 per­cent), Aus­tralia (65 per­cent), Canada (42 per­cent), Japan (17 per­cent), Brazil (16 per­cent) and the United States (5 per­cent) com­pared to the same period a year ear­lier.

Intra-EU acqui­si­tions rose by 24 per­cent in Octo­ber 2016, but extra-EU imports fell by 56 per­cent com­pared to Octo­ber 2016.

Olive Oil Prices

Span­ish prices reached €3.64/kg at the end of Jan­u­ary 2017, a 10 per­cent increase com­pared to Jan­u­ary 2016.

Ital­ian pro­ducer prices started pick­ing up in mid-August, accel­er­ated in the first week of Novem­ber and reached €5.90/kg at the end of Jan­u­ary 2017 (a 70 per­cent year-over-year increase).

Greek pro­ducer prices remained steady from mid-August through the end of Octo­ber and went up near the end of Jan­u­ary 2017 when they reached €3.46/kg (a 17 per­cent increase com­pared to Jan­u­ary 2016).

The same trend was observed for refined olive oil prices in Spain and Italy. At the end of Jan­u­ary 2017, the price dif­fer­ence in Spain between refined and vir­gin olive oil was €0.10/kg. In Italy, the price dif­fer­ence between the two cat­e­gories was far greater, at €2.28/kg.

Health Ben­e­fits Reported

Table olives were found to boost the immune sys­tem and, the IOC said, just might be the per­fect fer­mented pro­bi­otic veg­etable prod­uct of the future. This is due to the fact that some of the lac­tic acid bac­te­ria gen­er­ated in the fer­men­ta­tion of table olives fared bet­ter than other forms of bac­te­ria widely rec­og­nized as pro­bi­otic microor­gan­isms.

The reg­u­lar con­sump­tion of olives helps pro­vide the daily rec­om­mended intake of fiber, and olives are a source of oleic acid, car­bo­hy­drates, and pro­tein. Olives were also found to con­tain vital min­er­als such as sodium, iron, cal­cium and mag­ne­sium, and the antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties of polyphe­nols and provi­t­a­mins A and E.

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