Olive Oil Exports and Key Importing Countries

In this blog post, we would like to provide you with a deeper understanding of how the global market and olive oil exports work. In addition, we explain why Spain is the ideal choice to find the right trading partner to meet your import needs in your country.

Top Olive Oil Exporting Countries and Spain's Leadership

When it comes to selecting a business partner, it is essential to have a comprehensive view of the market dynamics and explore all available opportunities. As we explained in our previous article, Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil, and also leads the list of olive oil exporting countries, consistently outperforming its closest competitors. However, in order to fully understand the market dynamics, we have carried out a comprehensive analysis of export data.

First of all, we have concentrated our analysis on tariff code 1509, which encompasses extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil and olive oil (known as pure or refined). In the 2021/2022 crop year, 71.3% of exports were EVOO, followed by virgin olive oil with 3.1% and, finally, other oils, such as pure and lampante olive oil, with 22.1% of the total.

Top Olive Oil Exporting Countries in 2022 (in tons) - HS 1509

Source: own elaboration from data of Trademap.org

As shown in the graph above, the main olive oil exporting countries are Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Turkey, with the following figures in 2022:

  • Spain: 1,047,322 tons
  • Italy: 354,018 tons
  • Portugal: 239,725 tons
  • Greece: 175,748 tons
  • Turkey: 93,265 tons

Evolution exports 2018-2022 (in tons) - HS 1509

Graphich showing the evolution of olive oil exports by country from 2018 to 2022Source: own elaboration from data of Trademap.org

On the other hand, the graph above illustrates the evolution of olive oil exports over the last five years in the main exporting countries. Spain has remained in the lead with minor variations, as have Italy and Greece. However, Portugal and Turkey have experienced growth in the last year.

Top Importing Countries of Olive Oil

Map showing the top 50 olive oil importing countries in 2022 in tonsSource: own elaboration from data of Trademap.org

Although the main olive oil producing countries are located in the Mediterranean region, it is equally important to know which are the main destinations for the export of this liquid gold. As the demand for olive oil continues to increase worldwide, driven by the growing global trend towards healthy eating, we can identify that the main importing countries are concentrated in the European Union, the United States and some Asian countries such as China and Australia.

However, even if olive oil producing countries such as Italy – which stands out as the world’s leading importer – also import olive oil, we have excluded them from the following analysis because they use the product for purposes other than domestic consumption, such as re-export.

Olive Oil Import Data in 2022

Country

Tons imported Liters per capita

United States

410,395

1.21

France

136,574

1.99

Brazil

109,982

0.5

Germany

78,826

0.94

United Kingdom

78,754

1.16

Japan

60,084 0.49
Canada 57,774

1.5

China

49,457

0.03

Australia 33,645

0.58

South Korea

29,934 0.58
Netherlands 23,738

1.36

Source: import data from International  International Olive Council, population data from CIA Factbook

Within the European Union (EU), France stands out for its high per capita olive oil imports. This can be attributed in part to its proximity to the Mediterranean.

Outside the EU, the United States tops the list of importing countries, with an impressive figure of over 410,000 tons and a per capita consumption of 1.21 liters. In 2022, the U.S. returns to high import figures after fluctuations caused by the Donald Trump administration, which imposed a 25% tariff on olive oil amid the Airbus/Boeing trade dispute that lasted until 2021. Eventually, the World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the EU and both sides removed those tariff measures, with imports increasing in 2022.

On the other hand, although Brazil ranks third globally in terms of quantity imported, its per capita consumption is significantly lower, similar to that of Japan. Finally, China is notable for being among the top 11 importers of olive oil with the lowest per capita import figure of 0.03 liters, indicating high growth potential.

Evolution of imports 2018-2022 (in tons) - HS 1509

Three graphics showing the evolution of olive oil imports by country from 2018 to 2022

Source: own elaboration from data of Trademap.org

With regards to the evolution of imports, the table above provides an insight over the last five years in the top 11 importing countries. In Germany, for example, demand experienced steady growth from 2018 to 2021. However, in 2022 growth suffered in part due to the price increases experienced during this year.

Finally, according to data from the International Olive Oil Committee it is worth mentioning that Spain’s main trading partners importing Spanish olive oil in 2022 were Australia (+24%), Brazil (+3.8%), Canada (-49.8%), China (-24.9%), Japan (+81%), Republic of Korea (-42.3%), Russia (+327.5%), United Kingdom (+19.1%), and United States (-11%), compared to the previous period.

Imports of Olive Oil in Germany and the Importance of Organic Products

Graphich showing the import volumes of Germany from its 5 top supplier countries in 2022Source: own elaboration from data of Trademap.org

In 2022, Germany purchased a total of approximately 78,800 tons, with Italy as the main contributor with 36,374 tons, followed by Spain with 24,750 tons and Greece with 12,900 tons. These data underline the opportunity Spain has to expand its market share in Germany, which currently stands at 31.40%. Despite being Germany’s second largest supplier of olive oil, the German country ranks eighth on the list of destinations for Spanish olive oil exports. Germany is therefore a market with great growth potential for Spanish oils.

In per capita terms, although the average annual consumption of extra virgin olive oil in Germany is one of the lowest in the European Union, it has evolved from 0.73 kg consumed in 2018 to 0.94 kg consumed in 2022.

On the other hand, the importance of organic products continues to grow in Germany. Between 2018 and 2021, sales of packaged organic food increased by 6.5%, and forecasts call for growth to remain at 2.1% over the 2022-2025 period.

In this line, it is very important to have the necessary quality certifications in the German market, which are mainly the Organic Certification of the European Union and the Bio-Siegel Certificate of Germany. At Aceites de las Heras we have both certifications for our organic products.

ANUGA Fair, Cologne (Germany) from October 7 to 11, 2023

Anuga is one of the world’s leading food and beverage trade fairs, which currently has a focus on a sustainable and fair food system, as the global food industry is undergoing dynamic change.

Aceites de las Heras has the opportunity to attend as exhibitors. You can find us in Hall 11.1, Stand A032.

Conclusion: Why Choose a Spanish Company as a Partner for Importing

Considering international exports and import trade figures, we conclude that choosing a Spanish partner to import oil is a wise choice for the following reasons:

  • Spain is the leading country in olive oil exports, with a total export volume of 1,047,322 tons in 2022, which is 195% higher than the second country on the list.
  • Spain is the largest producer of olive oil, accounting for more than 40% of world production.
  • Innovation in quality: Spain has been working for years to improve production, constantly investing in cutting-edge technology. This technology has helped to produce oils of the highest quality, awarded and recognized around the world, 7 out of 10 award-winning oils are Spanish.
  • Sustainability: The olive grove is one of the great allies against climate change. For every kilo of greenhouse gases generated during the production of olive oil, the olive tree can fix 10 kilos of these gases in the soil and in the tree itself: an enormously positive balance for the environment.
  • Organic production: the olive tree is the leading crop in organic production in Spain with almost 200,000 hectares in 2016, a farming system that totals 450,000 hectares throughout Europe.
IVACE UE

PROYECTOS DE DIGITALIZACIÓN DE PYME (DIGITALIZA-CV) 2023. Cofinanciado por la Unión Europea. Expediente es IMDIGA/2023/233