Olive oil exports soar amid rising world prices
The export value of Greek olive oil has doubled so far this year after a sharp drop in olive harvests across the Mediterranean has sent oil prices soaring worldwide and pointing to a shakeout in the industry.
Reduced rainfall and high temperatures, ascribed to climate change, resulted in a dramatically poor 2022 harvest globally. Spain, producing about half the world supply of olives, was particularly hard hit, with yields down by more than 50%. Overall, European Union production fell 40% in the 2022-23 growing season.
Greece bucked the trend with a good harvest, and has been well positioned to take advantage this year of its increased international market share. In recent years, branded Greek olive oil has expanded its footprint, especially in Europe, reaching a market share of 14% in Germany and 12% in Poland, according to SYTEK, a Cretan growers’ association.
In the eight months to August, Greece exported more than €1.1 billion worth of oils and fats – mainly olive oil − an increase of 107% compared with a year earlier. In August alone, exports were up 20% in value terms to €60.1 million, according to the latest analysis by the Greek Exporters Association.
But there is still room for branded Greek olive oil to grow. As the fourth largest producer worldwide, Greece provides around 10% of global olive oil supply. And, yet, the country claims only 2-3% of the branded olive oil market internationally, with a large proportion of annual production exported in bulk.
Industry experts estimate that exports of branded Greek oil could increase as much as 20% over the next 2-3 years.