Business

World Olive Oil Consumption Increased by 73 Percent Over a Generation

Mar. 2, 2016
By Ylenia Granitto

Recent News

Global con­sump­tion of olive oil has almost dou­bled over the last 25 years with a jump of 73 per­cent, accord­ing to a report by the Italian farm­ers’ group Coldiretti.

World olive oil con­sump­tion in 2015 was pegged at a record 3,295,911 tons in the report. Italy led the list of con­sumers with 640,443 tons, fol­lowed by Spain with 540,133 tons and the United States, which con­sumed 339,512 tons — a 250 per­cent increase over 25 years ago.

People in major mar­kets changed their dietary style, accord­ing to the eval­u­a­tion. In Japan, last year’s con­sump­tion of 66,139 tons rep­re­sented a 1,400 per­cent increase over the 25-year period, while the UK and Germany each con­sumed around 65,000 tons, an increase of 763 per­cent and 465 per­cent, respec­tively.

Something near­ing a diet rev­o­lu­tion is cred­ited in the recent upsurge of olive oil adop­tion in coun­tries like Brazil, where the 25-year increase was nearly four-fold to 73,304 tons. In Russia the growth was three-fold in 25 years to about 23,149 tons, and in France con­sump­tion exceeded 113,538 tons rep­re­sent­ing an increase of 268 per­cent.

The sit­u­a­tion is very dif­fer­ent in tra­di­tional con­sumer coun­tries like Italy where, over the last 25 years, con­sump­tion has remained almost flat, with a modest 8‑percent expan­sion. Spain reg­is­tered growth of 24 per­cent over the term, while Greece had a sur­pris­ing 26 per­cent drop.

Advertisement

The growth in global demand for olive oil has been pow­ered in part by the health ben­e­fits asso­ci­ated with the con­sump­tion of olive oil.


World Olive Oil Consumption (in thou­sands of metric tons)

Advertisement


The farm­ers’ group said there remained promis­ing oppor­tu­nity for pro­duc­ers in Italy who exported almost 352,740 tons of olive oil last year, of which about 110,000 tons went to the United States.

However, Italian olive oil exports fell by 16 per­cent over the pre­vi­ous year due in part to a sig­nif­i­cant decline in the United States, the main non-EU market for Italy. Coldiretti sees the drop as a sign that encour­ages a strong demand for trans­parency about the origin of olive oil sold by key play­ers in the Italian olive oil sector.

“With a view to seiz­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ties dis­closed for the prod­uct symbol of Made in Italy and the Mediterranean diet, we have to tighten the leg­is­la­tion with the full imple­men­ta­tion of the rules that have been intro­duced with the “saves oil” law, (n. 9/2013), from con­trols for sen­sory eval­u­a­tion to the import arrange­ments to check the qual­ity of incom­ing prod­ucts,” said the pres­i­dent of Coldiretti, Roberto Moncalvo.

Advertisement

“Credibility is the key to suc­ceed­ing in inter­na­tional mar­kets, where new and aggres­sive com­peti­tors appear that must be faced with a renewed com­mit­ment at the level of envi­ron­men­tal, social and eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity,” he added.

Italy boasts an esti­mated 250 mil­lion olive trees, 533 vari­eties of olives and 43 ori­gins pro­tected by the European Union. Olive oil turnover jumped up to a record of €3 bil­lion in 2015, Coldiretti sai, more than half from exports.