According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in recent months, olive oil consumption has increased in Spain and in other producing countries such as Italy, Greece or Jordan. Precisely now that the situation has led us to stay at home, olive oil consumption has spiralled in Spanish homes. The upsurge in Spain might exceed 9% compared to 2018.
If we look at these figures regarding areas: the North of Spain is the geographical area that consumes the most. Cantabria, accounting for 13.77 litres per capita per year, is the region that has the highest consumption; followed by Galicia, with 12.66 litres, the Basque country, whose inhabitants consume almost 12 litres per year and Asturias with 11 litres per capita per year. Castile-Leon accounts for slightly more than 11 litres per inhabitant.
The fact that Andalusia, which is the largest olive oil producing region in Spain representing 80% of the overall produced, appears in 12th place at an annual average per capita of 9.33 litres is striking. Andalusia is behind the Balearic Islands and Catalonia, both accounting for almost 11 litres per capita per year, the Canary Islands and La Rioja accounting for slightly more than 10 litres and Madrid with 9.98 litres per person/year.
Castile-La Mancha, the second producing region on a national scale, ranks as 14th position accounting for 7.59 litres per capita per year; and Extremadura, third region in terms of production, is the last in the ranking accounting for 7.27 litres per capita per year.
If we look at the consumption of extra virgin olive oil, Cantabria leads the ranking with 6.35 litres per capita, followed by the Basque country accounting for 5.10 litres, Andalusia with 4.99 litres per capita per year, Madrid with slightly more than 4 litres and Navarra registering 3.99 litres per person/year. At the bottom of this ranking we find the Balearic Islands accounting for 2.64 litres; Castile-La Mancha with 2.57 litres; the Canary Islands with 2.52 litres and in last place Murcia with 2.35 litres per capita per year.
According to José Luis Murcia, director of the WOOE, this situation indicates that “EVOO has started to be paid special consideration given its distinctive organoleptic characteristics, whilst the rest of olive oils continue to be highly useful for cooking, particularly for frying”.
64 countries produce olive oil in the world, whereas 180 countries —out the approximately 200 existing countries— consume it. Heading the consumption line-up is Spain, followed by Italy and the United States. In relation to per capita consumption, Greece ranks at the top, followed by Spain, Italy and Syria. Olive oil represents 3% of world’s vegetable fats and 1.85% of the overall total of edible fats.