Olive oil is the ambassador of Italy’s food industry in the United States. This is what Assitol, the Italian Oil Industry Association, says about latest exports data processed by ICE – Italian Trade Agency in New York. According to these, in 2018 olive oil was at the top of the Italy-US trade exchange.
ITALIAN OLIVE OIL EXPORTS TO THE US
Italy’s food exports grew by 7.9% compared to 2017. Olive oil represents 10.5% of total export sales in the US, coming in second place in the best-selling Italian products’ ranking. Considering its market share (36.1%) it is in first place overtaking pasta (36%) and wine (32%) for a value of 545 million dollars. An important confirmation, in this sense, also comes from Assitol’s surveys: last year, the major Italian brands sold 71,568 tons of extra virgin oil in the US, for a value of almost 400 million dollars.
COMPETITION FROM SPAIN
“Our sector declined by 4.5% compared to 2017 – says Anna Cane, President of the Olive Oil Group of Assitol -. Yet, despite a bad olive harvesting campaign we maintain top positions in food exports. What worries us most is the strength of Spain’s olive oil industry. In the last two years, Spain has become the first exporting country to the USA. In the meantime, production in the United States has also increased. Today we should develop new promotional campaigns, taking inspiration from the Spanish ones and from investments in the USA”.
THE CONTRIBUTION OF TOURISM
The increasingly important trend of food and wine tourism can also contribute to strengthening the sector. According to Italy’s Tourism Board, almost 30% of tourists coming from abroad choose Italy to explore the areas related to food and wine. Moreover, the United States is the first country of origin of wine tourists in Italy. “Our olive oil – says Anna Cane – can be a driver for this trend, a real ambassador of the Italian food industry, drawing attention to our culinary excellent products and production areas”. The potential of exports and international trade could therefore revitalize this sector.