The USA olive oil market

Special report on the WOOE, with interviews. Madrid is hosting the sixth World Olive Oil Exhibition on March 29th and 30th. What is the latest news from the global olive oil industry? Here is the opinion of James Otte from La Tienda, a major US olive oil importer

Olio Officina

The USA olive oil market

The press office of WOOE, the exhibition devoted to prime olive oils, has interviewed some of the leading protagonists of this sector. These interviews are here for our readers to see, courtesy of Ms. Cristina Villar.

James Otte: “We have imported Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil since 1996. Tienda currently imports and sells in North America 29 brands of high end gourmet olive Oil”.

James Otte: “La Tienda supports Spain and her culture by offering the deepest selection of high quality traditional and iconic products, through e-commerce, catalog, retail and wholesale channels. Whenever possible we support family-owned companies that produce hand-made products using free-range and sustainable resources. Our goal is to treat our customers and employees like family, to educate our customers about the products, values and traditions of Spain, and to be the recognized leader in offering fine Spanish products in North America”.

Which are the main challenges facing the future development of the olive oil market in your country?

The US olive oil market is highly competitive, filled with products from all over the world as well as from the US. There is so much diversity in the category as a result that it would take a lot of advertising and promotional spending for a particular brand of olive oil to come in and gain significant market share.

Could you comment on the local olive oil production in USA?

Olive oil production in the US is in its infancy and shows no signs of slowing down. California is the dominant producer but other states are producing as well. The US producers are well organized and are trying to gain an advantage by:

1) being locally produced and

2) claiming to produce to the very highest standards.

That said, US olive oil still only accounts for 2-3% of olive oil consumed in the US. THIS WEBSITE has good information on US producers.

Which markets are currently showing the most promise for olive oil imports in the USA?

I am not certain that there’s a particular market here that has not yet reached the saturation point for olive oil imports. And with the huge number of shoppers who now buy groceries online, everyone has access to everything.

Photo by Luigi Caricato

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