According to the latest report by the International Olive Council (IOC), worldwide consumption of olive oil has gone up 1.8 fold since 1990/1991, and provisional numbers reveal an increase of 4.6 percent over the course of the last year.
This rise in consumption is largely due to non-IOC member countries, whose share of olive oil consumption jumped from 11 percent to 24 percent during the same 25-year time frame.
Recording the largest increase within that group is the United States, where consumption went from 88,000 metric tons in 1990/1991 to over 300,000 in 2015/2016. US consumption per capita, however, still remains relatively low at .9 kg in 2014, a quantity on par with countries like Canada and Norway, the IOC reported.
Over the same time period, the EU’s overall consumption — which is dominated by producing countries Spain, Italy and Greece — climbed slightly reaching highs in 2004/2005 before steadily dropping again.
Greece still leads the pack in annual per capita consumption at 12.8 kg in 2014 (followed by Spain at 11.4 kg, and Italy 10.5 kg) but consumes roughly 50 percent less by volume now than it did in 2004/2005.
While some of the EU’s trends are in part due to other factors (in the case of Greece, the economic crisis), a likely contributor to the recent drops in producer-country consumption is the lower production in recent harvests and the resulting higher prices.
For example in 2005/2006 and 2014/2015, data show that EU production dropped and prices spiked. The latter of these two harvest seasons correlates with a drought year in Spain, and the effects of Xyllela fastidiosa in Italy, both clearly taking a toll on overall output.
Non-producing countries within the EU are consuming slightly more overall, as well, though the majority of these nations don’t consume more than 1 kg per capita annually.
Meanwhile, growth among other IOC members, such as Turkey, Morocco and Algeria, has been notable (over nine fold in Algeria), with per capita consumption for each country situated at under 4 kg annually.