The olive oil production and consumption has a secure and promising future. The olive oil industry is effected by the trends of vegetable oil industries competition, the appearance of new technology and financial and social circumstances.
The most significant mega-trends which are factors that should be examined and taken into consideration for the planning and growing of the smallest to the largest olive oil enterprises, are the globalization, quality, increase of extra virgin olive oil produced, mechanized harvesting and competition with other vegetable oils.
Globalization. The Mediterranean countries historically have controlled the olive oil industry. Since the early 80s it started to spread to the USA, Chile, Argentina, Australia, China and India, with 2% of the world’s production. These countries aim into replacing imported olive products with domestic and extend into the exporting.
Spain has developed joint ventures with other countries and its fast growing olive oil industry, leads in obtaining other brands, originally connected with Italy. This trend allowed the large corporations to become larger and operate without the restrictions of borders. This resulted in many small producers getting together and forming bigger associations for the promotion of high quality extra virgin olive oil.
Another view of the globalization, is the spreading of specific varieties from specific regions to new regions and countries across the world. For example the Greek variety Koroneiki, which is the best and most important in the Greek olive oil production, now has reached Australia.
Quality. New olive oil producing countries and the branded bottled extra virgin olive oil, has emphasized the importance of quality and certification. The International Olive Council has set the classification standards and the EU has assured compliance. USA, Australia and New Zealand have taken the exposure of adulteration of olive oil, to new dimensions.
Two new tests, pyropheophytin (PPP) and 1,2-diacylglycerol (DAGs) can detect adulteration accurately. Some European olive oil producers have taken strict measures on existing rules, of existing specifications, resulting in a new project on olive oil authentication, started by the IOC and backed financially by the EU.
The descriptions that are used to market olive oil, will change to more specific ones. This is going to point the inferiority of blended and refined olive oils to the extra virgin olive oil and other vegetable oils.