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Olive oils from Spain take the lead in the US and Japan

Wiki Spanish Food editorial team

Olive oil production is already in record territory, reaching 1,774,200 tons so far in 2014. Domestic demand is expanding sharply, although exports account for the bulk of Spanish olive oil sales, strengthening Spain's leading position worldwide in this product.

The US and Japan stand out in 2014 due to significant imports of Spanish olive oils. For the first time in history, Spain is the leading olive oil supplier in both countries. According to data from the US Department of Commerce, imports of olive oil from Spain amounted to 71,800 tons in the first half of 2014, accounting for 45.14% of total imports (159,023 tons) and placing Spain more than three percentage points ahead of the second-ranking country.

This has been a long-time goal of the sector, which has endeavored for decades to rank number one. Looking back on the last 20 years, at the first half of 1995, Spain was the third-largest exporter to the US in terms of volume, with 7,504 tons. The improvement in the last two decades has been spectacular.

Data from Japan's Finance Ministry is equally impressive, and although the numbers are considerably lower (the island nation imported a total of 27,513 tons in 1H14), it's still very positive news for the sector. In the first half of this year, Japan imported 12,953 tons of Spanish olive oil, i.e. 47.08% of total oil imports, with Spain coming in more than 4 percentage points ahead of the second-ranking country. Export performance in Japan is also noteworthy: 20 years ago, in the first half of 1995, Spain exported just 1,759 tons to the country.

The US is the second-largest importer of olive oil in the world, while Japan ranks seventh. Rafael Pico, a spokesman for Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español, justifies the association's promotional efforts in both markets: "This data confirms the commitment made years ago by our export companies, and by the sector in general, to international product promotion. Now we are not only global leaders, but we are also able to provide that leadership in markets where we began with a notable disadvantage.”

In fact, The Good Life Embassy, an initiative of Aceites de Oliva de España, was present at one the biggest gastronomic competitions in the US: Taste of Chicago, which was held in July. A multitude of workshops on cooking with extra virgin oil from Spain were held for five days at the event. Diego Guerrero, international ambassador for Aceites de Oliva de España, together with local chef Marc Murphy, demonstrated our oil's enormous versatility and ability to be used perfectly in any international recipe.

In Japan, a new promotional campaign on TV will kick off in October called "The Good Life Recipe", which aims to strengthen our image as a global leader in terms of quality and production among Japanese consumers.

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01/08/2017