US imports more olive oil in bulk than in bottles

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Over the last two decades, US imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil have increased almost two and a half times, rising from 125 000 t in 1993/94 to 311 000 t in 2014/15

In 1993/94, product packaged in containers < 18 kg accounted for 88 % of US imports but by 2014/15 this share was no more than 58.2 %. Sales of packed oils have therefore lost 29.8 points to bulk oils. Italy was the source of 72 % of the 125,000 t imported in 1993/94, with imports split between virgin olive oil (22 %), olive oil (50 %) and olive pomace oil (1 %). The remainder came largely from Spain (9 %), Greece (3 %) and Turkey (2.5 %).

In 2014/15, when US imports totaled more than 311 000 t, the trend had reversed and more olive oil was being imported in bulk than in bottles. Since 2000/01 there has also been a move towards quality among US consumers. This is shown by the fact that in 1993/94 virgin olive oil had a 32 % share of total imports. In 2014/15 this share had expanded to 67 %.

As mentioned above, 58.2 % of the oil imported into the United States in 2014/15 was in containers 18 kg, of which 19 % was from Spain, followed by Tunisia (13 %), Morocco (3 %), Argentina (2 %), Italy (1.6 %), Chile (1.5 %) and the rest of the countries. Virgin olive oil was the most popular grade for imports in this category of container (24 % of the total, of which 17 % extra virgin, 5 % organic extra virgin and 2 % virgin).

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