The antioxidants in olive oil have beneficial effects in connection to the development of disease like arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis and some forms of cancer. Antioxidants such as poly-phenols, oleocanthal, squalene, have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial activities.
Besides the Mediterranean markets, olive oil has conquered new markets, due to its unique identity and difference from other fats and oils.
The last 25 years, even countries that were not previously consuming or producing olive oil, have adopted and keep increasing their consumption by 10% yearly.
The consumption of olive oil in the Mediterranean countries is very high and the demand is standard. The consumers today are knowledgeable and sophisticated.
Along with the advanced development of cultivation and olive mill technology, plain olive oil has been replaced with extra virgin olive oil, which has superior health properties. The increase in demand will continue, as long as the awareness of the health benefits of the universal consumer continues.
Extra virgin olive oil contains a relatively higher proportion of antioxidants than any other oil. Its content in linolenic acid, reduces cardiac arrhythmia. Olive oil reduces oxidative stress and has beneficial effects on high blood pressure, diabetes, due to its high content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids.
The long term intake of olive oil shows its distinct effects on heart and generally on degenerative diseases.
The demand of olive oil depends on price and quality. Usually when the price of olive oil increases, the consumption decreases. Price increase follows bad weather conditions and the reduction of olive oil production, also disease of the olive tree or the olive fruit and the reduction of the quality of the olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oils with a superb taste, PDO (Protected Destination of Origin), costs more than typical olive oils, marketed by large companies.