Over the past 25 years, world table olive consumption has seen a 2.7-fold increase, rising by 169.4 pc from 1990/91 to 2014/15. This trend is illustrated in Chart 1 where it can be seen that consumption has increased the most in the member countries of the IOC, which are the top producers. In some cases, consumption has climbed on the back of sharp increases in production, for instance in Egypt where table olive consumption has soared from 11 000 t in 1990/91 to 320 000 t in 2014/15, or in Algeria and Turkey where it has gone up from
14 000 t to 215 000 t and from 110 000 t to 350 000 t, respectively. Consumption has risen on a smaller scale in the rest of the IOC membership. Chart 2 reports annual per capita consumption of table olives in 2013.
Albania leads the ranking with 14.8 kg/capita/year; total table olive consumption in this country amounts to 41 000 t while it has a population of no more than 2 774 000 people. Far behind comes Lebanon (5.6 kg), followed by Turkey, Syria, Algeria and Egypt (between 4.0 kg and 4.7 kg), Jordan (3.6 kg), Israel (3.0 kg), Libya (2.3 kg), Tunisia (2.0 kg) and Uruguay (1.2 kg). The rest (Morocco, Argentina, Iraq and Iran, in descending order) consume between 1 and 0.6 kg of table olives per annum.
During the same time span (1990/91–2014/15), consumption in the European Union increased by 81.5 pc from 346 400 t to 629 000 t. Annual per capita consumption is reported in Chart 3. As can be observed, Spain, the world’s top producer is also the leading consumer (4.0 kg), followed by Malta (3.8 kg), Cyprus (3.0 kg) and Italy (2.4 kg). Further down the ranking are countries with a per capita consumption between 1.8 kg and 1.0 kg (Bulgaria, Greece, Luxembourg and France, listed in descending order), between 0.9 and 0.5 kg (Romania, Czech Republic, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Croatia) and not more than 0.4 kg (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ireland, Poland, Netherlands and Hungary).
Lastly, Chart 4 plots annual per capita consumption of table olives in non-IOC member countries. The top four consumers are also producers and consume between 1.9 kg and 1.3 kg (Palestine, Chile, Saudi Arabia and Peru). Next come Australia and Canada with 0.9 kg and 0.8 kg respectively; Switzerland and the United States with 0.7 kg each; Brazil and Russia, each with 0.5 kg (although total table olive consumption has risen steeply in these two countries, this is not mirrored in per capita consumption owing to the size of their population); and Mexico with 0.1 kg.
Source: International Olive Council