Greek Olive Oil Exports On the Rise

Greek Olive Oil Exports
Bottle pouring virgin olive oil in a bowl close up

After significantly increasing its production within 2022, Greek olive oil holds second place among the countries with the largest production in Europe, after Spain.

This was a great year for the Greek olive oil production, and all evidence point to that direction. According to data provided by SEVITEL (Association of Greek Olive Oil Standardization Industries) and SEDIK (Association of Olive-Growing Municipalities of Crete), Greek production is predicted to increase this year by 51%, reaching 350,000 tons and surpassing the excellent 2017/18 season (346,000 tons). This means that Greek production will be much higher this year than the Italian (235,000 tons) and will have a clearly smaller gap (compared to last year) with the Spanish, since Spain is predicted to produce 780,000 tons of olive oil this year, compared to 1,491. 000 last year. However, Spain will continue to represent more than half of the European Union’s production (52%), followed by Greece with a 23% share and Italy with 16%.

Overcoming a Stressful Year

According to a report recently published by the Italian Institute for Agriculture and Food (ISMEA, Istituto di Servizi per il Mercato Agricolo Alimentare), olive oil production in 2022-2023 was estimated at 208,000 tonnes, with Greece exceeding last year’s production by over 300,000 tonnes in 2022, and an estimation for 350.000 tonnes in 2023. But even in Spain, the largest producer of olive oil in the world, production fell by 30-50%, as in Portugal and France. The main reason for the dramatic decline in production in Southern and Western Europe has been largely attributed to the historic drought and high temperatures recorded during the summer, which affected both olive trees and fruit. In Greece, on the contrary, the harvest was better than in other countries of the south, resulting in a greater production of olive oil which, combined with high producer prices (stable above 4.50 euros per kilo of extra virgin olive oil), have increased hopes of the Greek producers for a good year.

Greek exports increase

Greek olive oil exports are also satisfactory, continuing to register an upward trend, with the European Union remaining the leading producer, consumer and exporter of olive oil in the rest of the world. Greek olive oil exports increased by 225% in the last decade according to SEVITEL’s report, while the actual volume of olive oil increased from 14,871 tons in 2002 to 52,735 in 2020. Germany is by far the largest importer of Greek olive oil, accounting for almost 50% of the amount imported by Europe.

The Mediterranean Olive Oil Worldwide

The EU produces about 67% of the world’s olive oil on about 40 billion hectares in the Mediterranean countries, with many areas of the south living exclusively on olive oil production. Italy and Spain are the largest consumers of olive oil in the EU, with annual consumption of around 500,000 tonnes each, while Greece has the highest per capita consumption in the EU at around twelve kilograms per person per year. Overall, the EU accounts for around 53% of global olive oil consumption. In terms of trade, the EU accounts for around 65% of global olive oil exports, with the US, Brazil and Japan being the main buyers.