Demand for Organic Olive Oil Growing Globally

By 2030, the organic olive oil market could be worth more than ten percent of the sector total, up from the current six percent.
By Paolo DeAndreis
Mar. 27, 2023 14:17 UTC

Organic olive oil is gain­ing trac­tion in inter­na­tional mar­kets. A grow­ing vol­ume of olive oil trade now comes from organic pro­duc­tion as organic olive farms are also expand­ing sig­nif­i­cantly.

Allied Market Research shows that the global organic olive oil mar­ket was val­ued at $933 mil­lion in 2021. According to Polaris Market Research, the olive oil mar­ket was val­ued at $14 bil­lion that year.

Consumers who are well-informed of the advan­tages of organic farm­ing and the qual­ity of organic pro­duce are also more will­ing to pay the higher price of organic olive oil.- Nikos Renieris, owner, El Renieris

In 2031, the organic olive oil mar­ket is expected to rise to $2.2 bil­lion, with an annual growth of close to 9 per­cent.

A large share of organic olive oil is exported in bulk in a busi­ness-to-busi­ness (B2B) envi­ron­ment. By 2031, B2B organic olive oil trade is expected to exceed $803 mil­lion. In 2021, it sat at $357 mil­lion.

See Also:Organic Farms Produce Less, but Are More Cost Effective, Study Finds

Experts cite ris­ing con­sumer aware­ness of healthy food as one of the dri­vers of increas­ing sales for organic food prod­ucts.

Consumers who are well-informed of the advan­tages of organic farm­ing and the qual­ity of organic pro­duce are also more will­ing to pay the higher price of organic olive oil,” Nikos Renieris, owner at El Renieris, an olive oil pro­ducer and bot­tler in Crete, Greece, told Olive Oil Times.

Public poli­cies also come into play. One exam­ple is the European Union’s strat­egy to expand organic farm­ing, to con­vert 25 per­cent of all farm­land in the bloc to organic prac­tices by 2030.

Producing coun­tries, such as Tunisia, whose exports con­sti­tute a large por­tion of its olive pro­duc­tion, are report­ing sub­stan­tial increases in organic olive oil trade as well.

Hamed Daly Hassen, chief exec­u­tive of Tunisia’s National Olive Oil Office, told Olive Oil Times that organic olive oil accounted for 44 per­cent of all Tunisian pro­duc­tion in 2021, exceed­ing 100,000 tons. In 2012, organic olive oil was less than 10 per­cent of all pro­duc­tion.

The ris­ing share of organic olive oil pro­duc­tion is due to grow­ing inter­na­tional demand, mainly from devel­oped coun­tries.

For sure, the more eco­nom­i­cally advanced mar­kets are those that are dri­ving sales of organic olive oil,” said Renieris, adding that organic olive oil sales are ris­ing annu­ally on Crete.

Still, accord­ing to exporters and importers, organic olive oil sales growth is only par­tially related to the demand trend.

The German extra vir­gin olive oil mar­ket is strong, and the share of organic olive oil is grow­ing as well,” Massimo Boraso, the chief exec­u­tive of the Italian e‑commerce olive oil plat­form, OlivYou, told Olive Oil Times. The German con­sumer is even more proac­tive in look­ing for organic olive oil than the Italian one.”

While ris­ing prices and per­sis­tent infla­tion have resulted in a pre­dicted decline in global olive oil con­sump­tion, the German olive oil mar­ket has shown sig­nif­i­cant growth.

According to the International Olive Council, olive oil con­sump­tion in the coun­try rose from 60,500 tons in the 2012/13 crop year to an expected 88,000 tons in 2022/23.

Considering that we only sell high-end extra vir­gin olive oils, organic olive oil sales are grow­ing through­out a con­sumer base that is highly inter­ested in find­ing the right olive oil but also in try­ing out new olive oils,” Boraso said.


In devel­oped economies such as the United Kingdom, the suc­cess of organic olive oil goes hand-in-hand with the pop­u­lar­ity of extra vir­gin olive oil among con­sumers.

We have seen con­sumers’ aware­ness chang­ing with our high-end prod­uct retail part­ners in the U.K.,” Yacine Amor, importer and CEO at Artisan Olive Oil, told Olive Oil Times. The Covid-19 pan­demic played a big role, boost­ing home cook­ing for quite a long time, and health-con­scious con­sumers started pay­ing way more atten­tion to olive oil and good qual­ity olive oils.”

While organic olive oil found new pas­sion­ate cus­tomers dur­ing the pan­demic, cur­rent eco­nomic con­di­tions have changed sig­nif­i­cantly, alter­ing U.K.’s mar­ket land­scape.

As infla­tion bites, fam­i­lies have changed their pri­or­i­ties. They need to cope with a chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion,” Amor said. High-qual­ity olive oil and organic olive oil are now tak­ing a hit.”

He added that extra bureau­cratic hur­dles imposed by Brexit, the U.K.’s deci­sion to leave the E.U., had also affected the avail­abil­ity of organic olive oil.

If you enter a super­mar­ket now, you can see how the choices of olive oil avail­able to con­sumers have halved since two years ago,” Amor said.

And the same hap­pens to organic olive oil and organic prod­ucts in gen­eral, shunned by fam­i­lies try­ing to save money and retail­ers who pro­mote bas­ket-pro­tec­tion strate­gies for their cus­tomers,” he added.

Along with the U.K. and Germany, Bosaro said he had noticed a grow­ing inter­est in organic olive oil in other parts of north­ern Europe, includ­ing Sweden and Estonia.

Across the Atlantic, the United States has become one of the world’s largest olive oil con­sumers and importers over the past two decades.

International Olive Council data show that U.S. olive oil imports rose from 193,000 tons in 2002/03 to an antic­i­pated 360,000 tons in 2022/23, approx­i­mately 36 per­cent of global olive oil imports. The largest quan­ti­ties of extra vir­gin olive oils are imported from Italy, Spain and Tunisia.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture esti­mated that organic olive oil rep­re­sented one-tenth of the value of for­eign olive oil sales in the U.S.

USDA data show that between 2013 and 2021, the value of U.S. organic imports increased five-fold, ris­ing from $500 mil­lion to $2.7 bil­lion. The USDA also expects these fig­ures to con­tinue ris­ing in the future.

Given the piv­otal role played by the U.S. as a global olive oil importer, the ris­ing demand for organic olive oil will likely have rip­ple effects through­out the sec­tor.

The inter­est of importers and con­sumers in organic olive oil also affects pro­duc­ing coun­tries.

In Italy, 12 per­cent of the country’s organic farm­land is home to olive groves. According to the Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market (Ismea), organic olives grow on approx­i­mately 243,000 hectares in the coun­try.

In its lat­est report, Ismea said the amount of land ded­i­cated to organic olive grow­ing dou­bled from 2010 to 2019. Since then, though, the growth has slowed to 1.5 per­cent per year.

The lat­est E.U. reg­u­la­tions pro­mot­ing organic farm­ing will result in a resur­gence in organic olive grow­ing.

In Spain, the world’s largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing coun­try by a wide mar­gin, the num­ber of organic olive groves con­tin­ues to rise across the coun­try.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, land ded­i­cated to organic olive groves increased by 16 per­cent in 2021. Now organic olive groves now cover 256,510 hectares in Spain, an area larger than Luxemburg.

The largest increase in organic olive grow­ing came from Andalusia, respon­si­ble for most of Spain’s olive oil pro­duc­tion. Organic olive grove cov­er­age rose by nearly one-third in the region from 88,691 hectares in 2020 to 117,380 hectares in 2021.


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