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Olive oil industry in Italy - Statistic & Facts

Together with Spain and Greece, Italy is one of the leading EU olive oil producers, reporting a total cultivated area of roughly 1.1 million hectares, if just the harvest of olives to produce oil is considered. Since 2014, the Italian annual production of olive oil oscillated significantly, reaching 340 thousand tons by 2020. Olive trees are grown across the whole Italian peninsula, and especially in the southern part of the country. Apulia is the undisputed leading producer of olives with 193.6 thousand tons as of 2019. Calabria and Sicily followed with 40.4 and 25.5 thousand tons over the same year, respectively. This is also due to the location of production sites in the country. In fact, Apulia counted the highest number of olive oil mills, with 904 sites as of 2018.

Despite a fluctuating output volume, exports of Italian olive oil have increased to an estimated volume of 209.1 thousand tons as of 2020. In terms of export value, the U.S. was the major importer of olive and pomace oil, surpassing other overseas countries, such as Japan or Canada. In the EU, Germany was the first trade partner, with an import value of almost 115 million euros during the first eight months of 2019. Among the different types of olive oil, the extra-virgin is the most traded one. Extra-virgin olive oil is extracted mechanically and with low temperatures to avoid potential altering of the oil characteristics and flavors.

Italian consumers of organic products seemed to prefer authentic Italian extra-virgin oil, which reported a retail sales value of almost 25 million euros during the first half of 2019. As far as prices were concerned, the retail price of olive oil showed a decreasing trend during the last quarter of 2019. In Italy, the average price of olive oil amounted to five euros per liter in hypermarkets. Unsurprisingly, discounters reported the lowest average price, at 4.17 euros per liter.

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