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.

By Stav Dimitropoulos
Jan. 26, 2020 09:41 UTC

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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