At the close of the 2014/15 crop year, Japanese imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil totaled 61 877 t, recording 10 pc growth on the previous season. Imports are itemised by country of origin in Table 1, which shows that 96 pc of the aggregate tonnage came from European Union countries. For the second year running, Spain is in the lead, accounting for 54 pc of the total tonnage.
Next in line comes Italy with 41 pc and Greece with 1 pc. Among the EU countries, Spain has seen its share of the Japanese market widen by 14 points from 40 pc in 2008/09 to 54pc in 2014/15, contrasting with Italy whose share narrowed by 11 points from 52 pc to 41 pc in the same period.
The remaining 4 pc of imports came from non-EU countries, notably Turkey, although its market share fell by 3 points from 6 to 3 pc. Chart 1 gives the import breakdown by category for the last seven crop years. Virgin and extra virgin olive oil accounted for 71 pc of total imports, olive oil for 25 pc and olive pomace oil for 5 pc.
Between 2008/09 and 2014/15 imports rose overall by 86 pc from 33 307 t to 61 877 t. Growth has been constant, except for a decrease in 2010/11.
In our May 2015 issue (No 94), we announced that the IOC Believe in Olive Oil promotion campaign in Japan would be getting off the ground in July. With the campaign now underway, recent events have included four workshops in four different Japanese cities (Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Fukuoka) targeted at the media, chefs, restaurateurs and olive oil importers.
Held over four days from 20 to 23 October 2015, the workshops were a great success and received extensive media coverage. In each of the city venues, IOC officials described what the IOC does and explained about the grades and definitions of the different types of oil obtained from olives.
These presentations were followed by a lecture on the health benefits of olive oil by renowned specialists and an olive oil tasting. A cookery demonstration brought the workshops to a close with well-known chefs showing participants how to pair olive oil with dishes from Japanese cuisine.
Afterwards, the team from the IOC Executive Secretariat met with the authorities and olive oil producers in the Kagawa region where the IOC standard is already applied; the goal is to achieve the application of the IOC standard nationwide in Japan.
Promotion will continue up to the end of the year and will feature a tour to Italy for media professionals and an olive oil recipe competition on the COOKPAD portal, which has over 20 million users. Find out more at http://believeoliveoil.jp/.
SOUTH KOREA: At the end of the 2014/15 crop year, South Korean imports totalled 16 352 t of olive oil and olive pomace oil, down by 7 pc on 2013/14. Even so, though still small in volume terms, imports have grown by 71 pc between 2008/09 (9 590 t) and 2014/15 (16 352 t). Spain was the source of 71 pc of South Korean imports, followed by Italy with 25 pc, Turkey with 2 pc and the rest of the countries listed in Table 2. Chart 2 shows the breakdown of imports by category: 72 pc virgin and extra virgin; 9 pc olive oil (blend of refined and virgin) and 19
pc olive pomace oil.