` Reports of Curtailed Olive Oil Consumption May Be Less True in Greece - Olive Oil Times

Reports of Curtailed Olive Oil Consumption May Be Less True in Greece

Sep. 12, 2013
Marissa Tejada

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According to a recent report, the world’s top olive oil con­sum­ing coun­tries are switch­ing to cheaper veg­etable oils as a result of the eco­nomic cri­sis. The report, fea­tured in Bloomberg, found that Spain, Italy and Greece are using less of the more costly olive oil in the face of unem­ploy­ment and reduced dis­pos­able income. However, Greek olive oil indus­try leader says this doesn’t apply to Greece.

The report by the Germany-based oilseed indus­try researcher, Oil World, found that the results are unprece­dented” com­pared to seven years ago. Then, olive oil prices were up to 40 per­cent higher yet that hardly made a dent in the three coun­tries’ total olive oil con­sump­tion. However, recent fig­ures reveal that sun­flower oil, corn oil and palm oil have taken more mar­ket share.

Some Greek olive oil experts don’t believe Greeks are con­sum­ing other types of veg­etable oils due to the cri­sis. In an inter­view with Olive Oil Times, Dr. Nick Michelakis, sci­en­tific adviser of the Association of Cretan Olive Oil Municipalities (SEDIK) said that is because olive oil is a sub­sis­tence” prod­uct in Greece. Greeks have always had the need to pro­duce their own oil rather than buy it from a store.

A four-mem­ber fam­ily can con­sumer up to 80 liters annu­ally so buy­ing from the super­mar­ket in small quan­ti­ties doesn’t make sense in terms of value. This sys­tem, despite the dif­fer­ing opin­ions in the indus­try, works for Greece because it basi­cally keeps the level of per capita con­sump­tion at 20 liters per year per indi­vid­ual which is the high­est in the world.”

Also accord­ing to Olive World, olive oil con­sump­tion in the European Union is fore­cast to slide by an unprece­dented” 270,000 tons, or 13 per­cent, to 1.74 mil­lion tons in the sea­son through September, 2013. The report also pointed to Spain’s drought, which caused a drop in pro­duc­tion to 614,000 tons from an all-time high 1.6 mil­lion tons.

Michelakis said Spain’s per­for­mance in the mar­ket cer­tainly affects the indus­try as a whole. However, he says that Greeks, in his opin­ion, haven’t reduced con­sump­tion and will con­tinue to keep olive oil in their daily diet in a way that can’t offi­cially be shown in reports.

The con­sump­tion trends in Crete that I see are that super­mar­ket-bought olive oil mainly goes to tourists. To a large extent this is the case in other parts of Greece. It makes sense, espe­cially now, to get your oil in bulk from your own trees or rel­a­tive pro­duc­ers,” said Michelakis.

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