Increase of extra virgin olive oil produced. The most extra virgin olive oil is produced in the Mediterranean countries.
The producers of Greece, Morocco and Tunisia, have supplied into the bulk markets, but now they are turning into the bottled and branded oil. This is increasing competition and places like Italy (which purchased most of the Greek extra virgin olive oil to blend with their higher quality production) get in difficult position.
As large supermarkets sell more than 75% of the world’s packaged olive oil, they are able to obtain good quality oil at reasonable prices. The supermarket brands favor the large producers, while the small producers sell their olive oil through specialty and high end stores.
The Mechanized harvesting of large orchards. The big orchards use mechanized harvesting methods.
Greece, Italy and Spain, always relied on the small orchards for their olive supply, which is more labor demanding. These countries have high unemployment and their small producers are loosing their income and are getting in the unemployment lines.
Mechanization of harvesting reduces the cost of production and keeps olive oil competitive with other vegetable oils.
Olive oil competition with vegetable oils. The smoking point of extra virgin olive oil makes it vulnerable in the competition with other vegetable oils. The smoking point of high quality extra virgin olive oil is 400 F and refined olive oil 460 F.
Extra virgin olive oil is great for low temperature cooking. When the consumer is well informed about olive oil, does not use other vegetable oils, which lack the health benefits.
Producers of avocado oil in South America are using cold pressing techniques to copy the olive oil’s profile. There is no other vegetable oil with taste like olive oil. The avocado oil is high in fatty acids, have high smoke point and is a threat to olive oil in North America.