Following a 20 to 30% increase in olive oil prices in the last year due to sliding production, new consumers such as China, Japan, Brazil and Russia are accounting for the bulk of Spanish exports, according to the Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español.
The organization highlighted China in particular, where imports in the first half of the year exceeded 10,000 tons for the first time ever. During that period, China bought 10,302 tons, representing growth of 27.5% compared with the same period of 2012. This growth enables Spain to increase its market share in China to almost 58%.
Imports of Spanish olive oil in Japan also exceeded 10,000 tons in the first six months of 2013, representing growth of over 25% in volume and of 48.21% in value. As a result, Spain's market share expanded by more than four percentage points.
In Brazil, imports expanded by 18.84% in volume terms, to 8,735 tons, and sales increased by 41.75%. Imports in Russia are also on the rise, expanding by slightly more than 3% in volume terms (7,004 tons) and by 13% in value terms in the first half of 2013.
In contrast, sales of Spanish olive oil to Italy have plummeted. According to data from the Olive Oil Agency, sales to Italy amounted to 108,600 tons in 1H13, i.e. considerably less than the 248,800 tons registered in the same period of 2012.
New foreign campaign
The positive results in new markets are the result of promotional campaigns rolled out by the Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español in the last few years, which reached 17 countries and over 200 million consumers worldwide.
"These campaigns have achieved their primary objective: to boost demand. Moreover, they have strengthened the image of Spanish olive oils in new markets with the result that consumers are willing to pay more for our quality product. In fact, growth is concentrated in those markets that mainly buy bottled oils", says Rafael Pico, a member of the Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español's board of directors.