Olive Oil Production and Consumption

Three countries are the major olive oil producers in the world. First is Spain, second is Italy and third is Greece. Together, they produce more than 75% of the world production.[11] Spain produces around 30% of the world’s olive oil, with 75% of this being produced in the region of Andalusia, particularly within Jaén province. Italy is also a major importer of olive oil, importing more olive oil than it exports, a majority of which is rebranded foreign produce. In Italy the major producers are called “Città dell’Olio”, “oil cities”; some of the most important are Lucca,Florence and Siena, in Tuscany. However the largest production is harvested in Puglia. Portugal accounts for 5% of the worlds production and its main export market is Brazil.

Australia now produces a substantial amount of olive oil. Many Australian producers only make premium oils, while a number of corporate growers operate groves of a million trees or more and produce oils for the general market. Australian olive oil is exported to Asia, Europe and the United States.[12]

In North America, Italian and Spanish olive oils are the best-known, and top-quality extra-virgin oils from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece are sold at high prices, often in “prestige” packaging. A large part of U.S. olive oil imports come from Italy, Spain, and Turkey. The U.S. imported 47,800,000 US gallons (181,000 m3) of olive oil in 1998, of which 34,600,000 US gallons (131,000 m3) came from Italy.[13]

New Zealand, The Republic of South Africa,[14] Argentina[15] and Chile[16] also produce extra virgin olive oil.

Olive orchards in Arizona, California, and Texas are producing olive oil that is appearing on USA grocery market shelves along side the Mediterranean olive oils.