By Sarah Schwager
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Buenos Aires

Spanish customs announced this week exports of olive oil to the United States have increased by 17% in the first half of the year. [1]

The increase is a huge gain for the Spanish industry, which began exporting high-priced olive oil to the US in the 1960s in exchange for cheap soybean oil.

Customs says the increase is a result of both economic circumstances and a massive boom in marketing.

Spanish companies have lifted their olive oil marketing campaign in the US in recent years to capitalize on recent trends.

Spanish olive oil is now much more affordable for Americans. The cooperatives and mills are now selling the oil much cheaper, which is providing more marketing options for olive oil companies albeit at the expense of farmers’ incomes.

And so supermarket operators are now deciding to buy more olive oil, recognizing that Americans will buy a higher-quality and healthier product that costs much the same as the fats they are already consuming, or at least those traditionally linked to the American culture.

The economic crisis has also helped exportation between European countries and the US as the dollar has proved more solid in the international financial markets than the euro.

While the price of olive oil relative to foreign exchange is variable, so the success of exports must be determined over a long period of time, indications are that the momentum of olive oil sales in the US is here to stay.

This is largely thanks to Spanish companies’ determination to build their business with the US rather than allowing the commercial gains to go to a foreign operator.  Spain is by far the largest olive oil producing country in the world, responsible for nearly half of the global production.

The ambitious promotional campaign launched, in part, by non-profit organization Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español can also not be shrugged at. It was founded in 2002 by representatives of different stakeholders, olive oil traders, refiners, packers and exporters united to strengthen the position of Spanish olive oil on the world market, improve competitiveness and ensure the future of the sector.

In March, the Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX), the Spanish Association of Industry and Olive Oil Exporters (ASOLIVA), Extenda – Trade Promotion Agency of Andalusia, the Inter-Organization of Spanish Olive Oil and the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha  joined forces to launch a campaign to strengthen the positioning of Spanish olive oil in several European Union markets, the United States, Australia and Brazil, and step up promotional activities in markets with high growth potential such as Russia, China, India, Mexico and Ukraine.

Source: Diario Jaen

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