`An Olive Oil 'Battleground' - Olive Oil Times

An Olive Oil 'Battleground'

Sep. 2, 2012
Curtis Cord

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An arti­cle yes­ter­day in the Telegraph, and echoed else­where, tried to rile up read­ers with the bat­tle cry head­line Eurozone olive oil firms face threat from America.”

The grow­ing olive oil mar­ket in the US is poised to be a bat­tle­ground’ between the his­toric European pro­duc­ers and their new chal­lengers from California,” the arti­cle warns.

The story relies on a report from a bank in California’s Central Valley that finances the local agri­cul­tural indus­try.

The bank’s report went out on a limb pre­dict­ing California pro­duc­ers would likely” gain 5 per­cent of the U.S. mar­ket share in the next 5 years — as long as the U.S. estab­lishes stricter qual­ity label­ing stan­dards and increases con­sumer edu­ca­tion on qual­ity,” that is.

It’s no sur­prise that a California bank would jump in the ring as American importers and pro­duc­ers duke it out over a pro­posed mar­ket­ing order. What’s unset­tling is how fast its press release was spun into more mis­lead­ing head­line hype.

California’s own experts have pre­dicted the domes­tic indus­try might some day be able to sup­ply 5 per­cent of the coun­try’s needs — max­i­mum. Getting there in five years is unthink­able.

The Telegraph warns the European pro­duc­ers espe­cially Spain” look vul­ner­a­ble.” It would­n’t seem so: Spain has dou­bled its olive oil exports in the last ten years and sales to the U.S. are noth­ing less than soar­ing.

Not to men­tion that big European com­pa­nies are set­ting up shop in many of the New World mar­kets. Even California Olive Ranch — by far the biggest pro­ducer in the U.S. — is owned by Spanish investors.

Even if American pro­duc­ers man­age to cap­ture 5 per­cent of the mar­ket in five years, the mar­ket will be 30 per­cent big­ger over­all. Hardly a dooms­day sce­nario for Spain. Throw in boom­ing new mar­kets like Brazil and giant prospects like India and China, and sud­denly Deoleo stock starts look­ing pretty good.

New World pro­duc­ers won’t win mar­ket share by paint­ing European olive oils as infe­rior or with calls for nation­al­ism.

Include the Rabobank report and Telegraph arti­cle in the ever-grow­ing list of sen­sa­tional hype and mis­di­rected efforts.

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