It is quite interesting how most people associate the Olive Oil to Italy. A few years ago the International Olive Council made a survey about the perception of olive oil in the world. A big majority of consumers associated olive oil with the Mediterranean culture, Italy and Greece. Spain was at the bottom of the list.
Sad for Spain. Very poor marketing. The interesting part is that Spain is the bigger producer of olive oil in the world and has more than 260 varieties of olives. And one of the oldest olive trees in the world, the Besavi, with nearly 2000 years, is still living in Lleida.
The numbers are impressive. Olive oil production in Spain is 3 times bigger than the Italian and nearly 5 than the Greek.Italy is buying 1/3 of the Spanish production of olive oil and is the top importer of Spanish olive oil. Around 40% of the total production in Spain meet the Organic requirements.
The olive oil is then bottled in Italy and sell in different markets with Italian brands.
I am coming across a few brands of Italian olive oil with the sticker at the back saying “Bottled in Italy” or “Produced in the EU”. Nothing to say against Italians. Good business people.
Finally, it seems that Spanish producers are doing their home work. Exports are increasing: to USA a 32% between 2009-2010 and around a 70% increase in the exports to China, India and Russia.
Still can’t find a good variety of Spanish Olive Oil in Ireland. Come on guys, wake up!