How much does a Spaniard spend annually on olive oil?

One of the pillars of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. Olive oil is one of the most coveted products of Spanish gastronomy and, for this reason, is nicknamed “liquid gold.” The use of olive oil dates back to the Fertile Crescent, around 4,000 BC. Since then, olive cultivation has mainly settled around the Mediterranean Sea. The consumption of this type of oil has taken root as a tradition in these countries.

Mainly in Spain, but also Portugal, Italy, Greece, and even areas of North Africa such as Morocco or Tunisia are the places where this tradition is most deeply rooted. Greeks are the world’s largest consumers of olive oil, with an average of 16.3 liters per person per year. In contrast, butter is more consumed in North America, northern Europe, and England.

Breaking down oil consumption in Spain

According to the latest Food in Spain report, in 2019, Spanish households spent, as a whole, more than 1.1 billion euros on olive oil consumption, more than 350 million liters of oil consumed in the country. On average, a Spaniard spent 24.8 euros out of pocket and consumed 7.7 liters of olive oil.

This consumption was not uniform among the different types of olive oil. It stands out that in 2019 it was non-virgin olive oil that predominated over the rest, with 4 liters consumed per person. In contrast, virgin olive oil was consumed on average at 3.7 liters and, finally, extra virgin with 3 liters per person.

Although its consumption is lower, extra virgin olive oil is the clear winner in recent years. From 2015 to 2019, the demand for extra virgin olive oil increased by 32%, compared to, for example, 3% for virgin oil.

Spain leads the world in terms of the olive grove area

The olive grove area registered with the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture amounts to 2,733,620 hectares. If one hectare is 10,000 square meters, it follows that the olive grove area in Spain is immense. Precisely, the land under olive cultivation keeps increasing year after year. One thing is obvious: Spain leads the world in olive oil production and olive grove area. In fact, in 2020, Spanish olive oil production accounted for 58% of that produced in Europe and 37% of world production.

By Autonomous Communities, the national leadership in both oil production (81%) and olive grove surface area (60%) is held by Andalusia. It is followed by Extremadura, with just over 6% of national production. And the third place is occupied by Castilla-La Mancha, which is also close to 6%, but without exceeding it.

Now, what are all these hectares of olive groves dedicated to? As might be expected, not all olive groves are used for the same purpose. Spain specializes in olive oil production, reflected in the area devoted to it: 93% of the total number of hectares. On the other hand, around 3% of the cultivated area is used only for table olives. The remaining, approximately 4%, are dual-purpose olive groves, both for oil and table olives.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top