The definition “extra virgin olive oil extra” turns 50 and all the product categories linked to this beloved vegetable fat also celebrate their 50th anniversary.
As in all great parties, there is always a surprise: upon its 50th anniversary extra virgin olive oil consumption levels seem to overtake its production levels. Is this year going to mark a turnaround for olive oil prices as well?
Many hope so given the clear plunge in prices of the last years.
The International Olive Oil Council meeting in Madrid from November 22nd to 26th during the 98th session of IOOC members takes stock of the trends for the 2010-2011 season.
By analysing data coming from several olive oil producing countries a production decrease of 2.5%, i.e. 2.95 million tons was forecast and a growth increase of 2.98 million tons was estimated.
This is close to breakeven. Fair enough. But this also means that along with the increasing dimensions of olive yards, new and passionate consumers of olive oil are also on the rise.
Europe is still the largest worldwide producer with 2.1 million tons out of which 1.20 millions are produced only by Spain in spite of the 14% reduction vis a vis the 2009-2010 season.
These are the figures about the other olive oil producing countries published by the IOOC: 336,000 tons in Greece, 480,000 tons in Italy, 67,500 in Portugal, 6,500 in Cyprus 6,000 tons in France.
Outside of the EU the IOOC has estimated a production of 193,500 tons for Syria, 160,000 for Turkey, 120,000 for Tunisia, 150,000 for Morocco, 48,000 for Algeria, 24,900 for Palestine, 19,000 for Jordan, 18,000 Australia, 17,500 for Argentina and 15,000 for Lybia.
As previously mentioned, World consumption is estimated to exceed the threshold of 2.98 million tons with a 3.65% increase with respect to the 2009-2010 season.
The European Union still plays a leading role in terms of consumption as well with 1.88 million tons, followed by the US (260,000 tons), Syria (125,000 tons) and Turkey (115,000 tons).
Given the major objectives and the large funds for promotional, information and awareness raising activities earmarked by the European Community, the IOOC and other associations in Europe, India, China and Russia, we really wish that the olive oil producing industry will considerably expand in the next ten years.
We hope that awareness will play a bigger role than price in the competition among olive oil producing countries: this will ensure better quality products thus avoiding a decreasing trend in prices which is bad for producers and consumers alike.
Based on this new olive oil campaign with its encouraging figures we can only say: Long life King of fats!
1. Olives in olive oil mill 2. Traditional olive orchard 3. Before and after filtering
4. Manual harvest 5. Ancient olive tree 6. Machanical harvester
7. Oil coming out of the separator