For a number of years, Mr. Barato has headed the Spanish Olive Oil Interprofessional Organization, a non-profit that represents all the associations of the Spanish olive oil sector and promotes the product around the world. Spain produces around 80% of European olive oils and about 50% of those sourced worldwide, and this sector and product have a significant presence in Japan.
Why are consumers in countries with little tradition of its culinary use, such as Japanese consumers, using more and more olive oil? Because it is the only fat that meets consumers’ new requirements in developed countries. First and foremost, consumers want to eat healthier. Olive oil is also the answer to consumer demand for more sustainable food. Regarding sustainability, European olive groves are an example of best environmental practices. They are a barrier against climate change, fixing atmospheric CO2 with a climate-positive result. This makes an excellent contribution to the European Green Deal. Plus, this crop has evolved over the centuries into a veritable forest. And this forest has a wealth of biodiversity.
JAPAN AN ESSENTIAL PARTNER
Thus, it comes as no surprise that Japan is an essential partner for European olive oils. In fact, Japan is the top consumer of Spanish olive oils in Asia and the second outside the European Union. In 2020, 65% of imports of this food came from Spain, allowing European olive oils to represent 95% of total imports. In fact, at about 70,000 tons per year, Japan is already the country with the third-highest olive oil consumption outside the Mediterranean area – and everything seems to indicate that this trend will get stronger in the future.