Spain is once again at the top of the EVOOLEUM Guide 2022, which presents each year the 100 best extra virgin olive oils in the world. With Olibaeza Premium Picual at the top, the list includes a total of 68 oils produced in our country.
Spain is the world's leading oil producer. It is a world leader in surface area, production and foreign trade thanks to the country's olive-growing tradition and the existence of a technologically advanced industry capable of obtaining high-quality oils. Spanish olive oil production accounts for 70% of European Union production and 45% of world production.
Spain is also the world's leading exporter of olive oil, its exports account for around 65% of its total sales and are divided between a total of more than 180 destination countries. The most important ones in terms of figures are Italy, Portugal, France and, of course, the United States.
The United States is the main olive oil market outside the European Union and Spain is its main supplier in volume since 2016. In the 2016/2017 campaign the volume of Spanish oil imports in the United States reached 305,000 tons, and since that time the growth of imports has been occurring progressively. In 2017/2018 they reached 310,000 tons, in 2018/2019 346,000 tons and in 2019/2020 391,000 tons.
Despite these very positive data, it is critical to remember that on October 18, 2019, the United States imposed tariffs of 25% on different agricultural products, including olives and olive oil of Spanish origin, as a consequence of the public aid granted to the Airbus consortium by Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The consequences of this imposition were not long in coming, and in February 2020, Spanish olive oil imports into the United States recorded their lowest volume since the same month in 1996. After a year and a half of negotiations between the two parties, an agreement was reached to suspend these tariffs, which was reflected in both the value and volume of Spanish exports of this product. This suspension of tariffs boosted exports of bottled olive oil by 140%.
Despite the fact that Spain is the leading supplier of olive oil to the United States, Italian imports of this product exceed Spanish imports in value (Data extracted from the xNova International platform). In 2021, the total value of Spanish olive oil exports to the United States (tariff code 1509) almost reached $380 billion. This translates into an increase of more than 66% in value, moving from third place in terms of import value in the U.S. market to second place, surpassing Tunisia.
Although Spanish olive oil exports have diversified to many countries in recent years, the U.S. market remains the largest importer of this and many other products. In addition, although entry into this market can be complex, it offers immense possibilities, stability, and recurrence. With good market and competitor research, it is possible to profit from exports to the United States. The major olive oil marketers in Spain, Coosur and Aceites Borges Pont, are aware of this reality. In just one year (2021) they exported approximately 37 million kilos of oil to this market and among their most important importers we highlight Kangadis Food INC in the state of New York and Eastimpex INC in the state of California.