International Olive Council executive director Jean-Louis Barjol (file photo)

Speaking at the inauguration of the XII Expert Virgin Olive Oil Tasting Title at the University of Jaén, International Olive Oil Council (IOC) director Jean-Louis Barjol warned of a potential slowdown in olive oil consumption if prices continue on an upward trend.

Barjol said that consumption has been growing steadily in recent years, pointing out that the issue of olive oil being seen as an “expensive product” has been balanced by the fact that consumers recognize its proven health benefits.

“Over the years, we’ve seen a slow but steady increase [in consumption]. It’s true that the global economic crisis has weighed on consumers, and the level of consumption has approached a plateau. If prices get too high, we’ll see another standstill and, in some countries, a reduction in consumption,” he said.

“The concern is primarily among large consumers such as Spain, Italy, Greece, and the United States,” Barjol added, noting that weakening demand in the latter had become less of a concern as of late.

When asked about the upcoming olive campaign in Spain, Barjol said that while most industry members expect a marked reduction after last year’s record breaking harvest, other important producers like Greece, Tunisia and Italy will likely bounce back from lousy harvests to meet global demand in the coming year.


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