It remains alive in the collective imagination that olive oil made in Italy is triumphing on the tables and tablecloths worldwide, but the reality is that several years ago the Spanish producers have overtaken their great rival.
Export data has helped to dismantle the myth that only the boot shaped country knows how to sell the famous product. Thus, foreign sales rank Spain as the absolute world leader and also among new consumers like China, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and many more, where Spanish brands are arriving such as, Carbonell or Hojiblanca , to name just a few.
And in the last decade oil shipments abroad have doubled, reaching 1.13 million tons, resulting in 2.726 billion euros. That is, over 50% of production is for a total of 166 countries.
While today Spain remains the major supplier to the Italian oil industry and holds 42% of exports, as the country is deficient and does not even meet their own internal needs. In fact, in 2014 the imports transalpine marked the record of the past 20 years and generated a deficit of 151 million euros.
In this competition between the two Mediterranean states one should not lose sight of new competitors such as Australia and Chile. The turning point for Spain was in 2010. Since then, sales have been up 25% compared to their European neighbours and growing.
Another historic moment of this sector was when Spain took over Italy in the export of the product to the United States. This has meant a frontal blow, as it was until now its great market. The US is the third largest consumer of this oil (294,000 tons), only behind Italy (600,000) and Spain (580,000). Spain now has its sights on Germany and Canada.
Despite all this, there is still an unresolved weakness: the price, as the Spanish olive oil is sold one euro cheaper than the Italian variety, which on one hand reinforces the idea that the made in Italy is associated with the concept of quality, but at the same time, it reduces its competitiveness.