By Simon Field | Victoria, Australia
The global olive industry is a complex matrix of production, distribution and consumer behavior which changes daily with climatic conditions, political activity and the decisions of businesses, large and small. The industry does not operate in isolation, it is affected by the trends in competing vegetable oil industries, the global financial situation, social imperatives and the emergence of new technology. Olive oil consumption has a very long history and an assured future. The future will be shaped by the global industry’s recognition and strategic response to the many challenges it will face. An important step in responding effectively at local, regional and international levels is the recognition of the most important trends which will influence the industry over the next ten years. The following ‘megatrends’ are identified as the most significant factors which should be considered when planning to sustain and grow all small, medium and large olive oil enterprises.
Historically the olive industry has been concentrated in, and controlled by, Mediterranean countries. Over the past two decades there has been an expansion of the production base to countries which previously were net importers, namely the USA, Australia, Chile and more recently China and India. While production in these countries is less than 2% of world production, their presence has had an impact on the global politics of olive oil as the new entrants strive to displace imports with domestic products and expand into the export market
Traditional producing countries, especially Spain, have expanded their production base into neighboring countries such as Portugal and Morocco, as well as establishing joint ventures in South America, China and India.
The aggressive growth of the industry in Spain has resulted in the acquisition of brands which traditionally were associated with Italy. This trend has resulted in a blurring of the association of brands with particular producing countries and seen the growth of large corporations operating without the constraints of borders. Continue Reading