Olive oil exports to October up 36% in volume but domestic sales fall

  • Lusa
  • 12 December 2022

The exports of olive oil in the first 10 months of the year was up 36% on the same period of last year in terms of volume and 57% in value.

Portugal’s exports of olive oil in the first 10 months of the year was up 36% on the same period of last year in terms of volume and 57% in value, but domestic sales were down by about 14%, according to data provided by the main sector association.

“According to the latest data to which we have access (January to October 2022), national exports of olive oil increased by about 36% in volume and 57% in value, compared to the same period in 2021,” Mariana Matos, the secretary-general of the Casa do Azeite (House of Olive Oil), formerly the Association of Olive Oil Refiners and Exporters, told Lusa.

These figures are in line with the sector’s projections, noting that 2021 was the year of highest production of olive oil in Portugal “and it is natural that a significant part of that production would be exported throughout 2022.”

The value of olive oil at source also saw a “very significant increase” so a significant rise in the value of exports was already expected, Matos noted.

In terms of the largest percentage increase in exports of bulk olive oil by market, Italy (+84%) and Spain (+55%) stand out.

Brazil remains Portugal’s main destination market for packaged oil, with exports up 6.5% on the same period of 2021.

According to the Casa do Azeite, which cited internal data, olive oil sales in Portugal in the period were down some 14% on the year.

“This drop in olive oil consumption was also expected, not only because the price of olive oil has increased very significantly, but also because of the effect of inflation, with the consequent decrease in the purchasing power of families,” justified Mariana Matos.

She also said that the sector has felt a “huge” impact from rising costs, with companies “experiencing very difficult days.”

Price increases of olive oil at source already exceed 50%, compared to last year, she said, adding to increases in operating costs, materials and packaging, depressing family producers’ incomes.

As a result, even with the “crushing of commercial margins”, it has not been possible to hold down olive oil prices in the home market and, consequently, the drop in consumption “is already perceptible and will continue in 2023.”

Operating since 1976, Casa do Azeite is an employers’ association under private law, representing almost all the branded packaged olive oil groups in Portugal.