Spanish olive oil producers are seeing a great opportunity to grow their exports in Brazil, where consumers regularly use olive oil to put on top of their pizzas.
“Spain is the biggest world producer of olive oil and Brazil has, little by little, become one of the biggest consumers of Spanish olive oil. It is now among the world´s top 10 destinations for Spanish olive oil shipments,” Antonio Correas, a Sao Paulo-based official of the Spanish government, told Latin Business Daily. He is coordinating a campaign in Brazil to promote this traditional Mediterranean product.
Consumption of Spanish olive oil keeps growing steadily in Brazil, he said. Spain, along with Portugal, is already among the top olive oil suppliers to Brazil. According to 2014 data, Brazil is importing annually about $63 million worth of Spanish olive oil, the equivalent to 20 percent of all its olive oil imports.
“Some years ago, it was mostly used only raw in salads but little by little consumers are becoming familiar with other uses such as for frying, cooking and even to prepare pastry,” Correas said. “Brazilians love olive oil and if consumption does not grow more, it's because of its price. Compared with oil from seeds, olive oil is a lot more expensive."
However, the trend toward a healthier diet is helping push its consumption even if the price is higher, he added.
Spain produces anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of the world's olive oil each year. By far, most production comes from the region of Andalucia, in the south. Total exports of olive oil from Spain worldwide amount to $3 billion annually.
Spanish olive oil goes to markets including the United States and even to other countries in the Mediterranean that are also big producers and exporters. For example Italy, also a large producer, is the main shipping destination of Spanish olive oil. However, unlike Italy where most of the shipments are in bulk, exports from Spain to Brazil are for the most part in packages, he added.
The Brazilian consumer is largely younger and the “extra virgin” or premium quality is the preferred choice, he said.
The Spanish olive oil offering is very diverse and the latest trend is for the consumption of oil from single varieties as opposed to blends, Correas said. Some varieties can yield a sweet taste while others are spicy. Among the main brands of Spanish olive oil are Borges, Carbonell, Hojiblanca, La Española, Rafael Salgado and Ybarra.