Olive Oil Industry Overview

Domestic Production

  • Olive oil has been produced in the United States for more than 150 years
  • Since 1998, more than 28,000 acres of olives have been planted exclusively for the production of olive oil. Greater than 70% of this acreage has been planted since 2006.
  • The United States olive oil industry has employed the most modern and sophisticated agricultural practices in the development and operation of its facilities, resulting in average annual orchard yields 300% greater than those in Europe.
  • 95% percent of olive oil produced in the United States exceeds any known standard for extra virgin
  • 98% of US olive oil is produced in California, with oil also being produced in Oregon, Georgia, Texas and Arizona, Florida and Maui
  • Every 250 acres of olives planted for oil production create 2 jobs
  • Each acre of high density olives planted requires a capital investment of $14,000, not including land.

Domestic Market

  • The United States is the 3rd largest national market for olive oil in the world (80 million gallons) and the largest market outside of the European Community.
  • The United States has no mandatory grading standards or enforcement of standards for olive oil resulting in rampant misleading and fraudulent labeling of olive oils sold to retail and food service customers who, largely, have never been exposed to actual extra virgin olive oil.
  • According to studies performed by UC Davis, 69 – 73% of all olive oils tested and labeled as extra virgin failed to meet the NAOOA (North American Olive Oil Association) / IOC (International Olive Council) grading standard despite each of the producers of those products being based in signatory countries to the IOC.

Global Industry Facts

  • Spain is the largest producer of olive oil worldwide, representing between 35 and 50% of olive produced annually. Italy and Greece are the second and third largest producers of olive oil.
  • EU has 9.6 million acres in olive oil production; primarily in Greece, Italy and Spain.
  • Most olive oil exported from Italy outside of the EC is not Italian olive oil. Italy consumes more olive oil than it produces.
  • The olive oil industry in the EC receives subsidies of €3 billion annually, a value greater than the total value of olive oil exports outside of the EC.
  • EC olive oil program was amended to have support directed through both EC and member states regulations and the support lacks transparency.
  • The tariff for imports of olive oil to the EC are 3100% higher than those for imports into the United States
  • The EC has no mandatory export standards for olive oil.