Olive Oil World

Olives and olive oil have a long, rich heritage that date back to the beginning of history. It is said the first sign of life seen by Noah after the deluge was the branch of an olive tree brought back by a dove. Even now the olive branch continues to be used as a symbol of life and peace.

Today, about 95% of the world’s olive oil production takes place in the Mediterranean region, although consumption continues to spread around the globe. In 1959, the United Nations supported the creation of the International Olive Council (IOC) in Madrid, Spain, to facilitate international policy and developments in the field of olives and olive oil. Since then, the IOC has been the leading global authority on standards and research in the olive oil world. That’s why you will find frequent references in these pages to IOC standards and quality definitions. The map below will give you a snapshot of where olive oil is produced and consumed today.

Olive Oil Use Worldwide

Most people know that olive oil is mainly made in the Mediterranean region of the world, but many don't realize that Spain is actually the largest producer, consistently making about 45% of the world's olive oil in any given year – nearly half, and in some years more than half! Typically, Italy and Greece are the next two largest producing countries.

Although the bulk of production is still centered in the Mediterranean, consumption is growing all over the world. The United States is the largest volume importer of olive oil globally, accounting for about 35 to 40% of world imports annually. However, both Spain and Italy consume more olive oil in total than the U.S. and the U.S. lags significantly when it comes to consumption per capita.