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Trends in US imports of bulk and packaged olive oil

Olio Officina

Two decades ago, US olive oil imports accounted for almost 30 pc of the world total. Now, they account for more than 38 pc. This issue looks at how imports have changed over time in terms of category breakdown and container size.

Between 1993/94 and 2013/14, packaged product (containers

Looking at the five-season trend of US imports by country of origin and container size between 2009/10 and 2013/14 what emerges is a 43 pc increase in bulk imports, contrasting with an increase of no more than 1 pc in imports of packaged containers. The four top suppliers of packaged product by order of volume are Italy, Spain, Greece, Tunisia and Turkey. In the bulk ranking, Spain is the leader, followed by Tunisia, Argentina and Italy. Spain clearly dominates the bulk market and is making inroads in packaged product, which is still led by Italy although it has lost ground in volume terms over the five crop years.

In a nutshell, this analysis points to a major change in the structure of the US import market. Compared with 20 years ago, import volume is now 21/2 times higher and import breakdown by container size has shifted with bulk containers increasing their share of total import volume from 13 to 41.4 pc, which is an indicator that bottling has expanded significantly in the US. The breakdown of suppliers has changed too. Spain has seen its bulk exports increase, above all to supply on-site bottling facilities, as have other countries like Tunisia and Argentina that will have to be reckoned with in the future. Other countries will also probably enter the playing field.

Source: International Olive Council

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