Olive oil is a nutritious and delicious part of the Mediterranean diet. It has been used for centuries as a healthy alternative to other cooking oils. It is obtained by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil. It has been approved for use as a health food due to its many beneficial properties.
It should come as no surprise that the countries along the Mediterranean Sea—Greece, Italy, Spain, and Turkey—produce most of the world’s olive oil supply. But exactly which country is the biggest producer? The answer may surprise you. Read on to find out who they are and why they produce so much!
With over 690,000 tons produced each year, Spain is the world’s top producer and exporter of olive oil. It commands nearly 50% of global production and 65% of international trade. These exceptionally high figures are due to favorable climate conditions that enable its wide range of harvesting areas as well as better agricultural practices like improved plant development technologies aimed at increasing yield per hectare
Italy tops the list of the primary producers and exporters of olive oil in the world with a production of 3.2 million tons, which is approximately 22% of global production. This country is quite famous for its varieties of oil, such as Frantoio and Moraiolo, alongside its wide range of table olives, including Gaeta and Kalamata. Other specialized uses include dressing various kinds of cuisine or applying it in cosmetics products because it helps provide deep hydration to the skin.
Olive oil production in Morocco is mainly centered around key regions within the North African country. The main areas of production include Meknes-Tafilalet and Souss-Massa where around 65% of all olives are harvested locally. In addition to this, Moroccan olives are also produced on smaller estates and farms throughout the region.
The majority of Moroccan olives used for production are grown using traditional techniques or natural methods such as revolving vines around poles or hand harvesting during designated harvest periods. These traditional methods ensure that quality control is maintained throughout the entire process and that only the most flavorful oils make their way into consumer households worldwide.
Located in the Mediterranean, Greece is home to many species of olives, including some that are hundreds of years old. Estimates in production range between 800,000 and 1 million tons per year, with much of this production attributed to co-operatives that have been organizing and laying down common foundations since ancient times.
The harvesting season starts in October when most of the olives reach maturity and lasts until January. A great number of o products are produced by Greek farms: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) stands out as it has always been a staple part of the Mediterranean diet. It is known for its low levels of acidity and its rich flavor with a hint of almond aroma due to the care taken during harvesting, pressing, storing, and bottling processes. The best-quality EVOO from Greece comes from single-variety, organically grown olives. In addition to this signature product, a wide array of table olives for eating as part of meals is also manufactured alongside soaps and cosmetic products that are derived from pure extra virgin Greek olive oil.
The majority of Turkish olive oil is made from a variety of the Koroneiki olive, which is a superior fruit for pressing and milling for oil. The popularity of this variety comes from its slim shape which allows for easy extraction, as well as its high quality and consistency of flavor.
Turkey produces both virgin and extra-virgin varieties and is gaining recognition among consumers in global markets due to its intense fruity taste with hints of hazelnut or almond. Furthermore, Turkey’s olive oil has been found to contain low levels of acidity which makes it perfect for cooking dishes that require higher temperatures without fear of destruction or chemical alteration.
Turkey is also developing an industry focused on biodynamic farming practices that prioritize sustainable approaches to ensure long-term productivity and consistent quality through meticulous care. This care includes soil preparation before planting, hand harvesting at peak flavor ripeness, as well as pressing methods that are designed to preserve the highest quality standards when milling olives into extra-virgin grades.
By utilizing these practices synergistically with modern production processes, Turkey’s growing presence among international markets will continue to bring premium-grade olive oil products at affordable prices for consumers worldwide.
The largest share of this oil comes from the southern region of Apulia, where lush groves of the Koroneiki variety are harvested and crafted into unique flavors of extra virgin olive oils. Many producers blend different olives for a well-rounded flavor, ranging from mild to strong depending on the country’s individual terroir. Quality control is an important part of the production and much effort is made to meet “Extra Virgin” label standards.
In addition to its use in cuisine, olive oil is also used medicinally and industrially – making it an evergreen crop across the globe. The country’s growing demand for organic and ecolabel-certified products has led some producers to look towards sustainable production techniques while others focus on traditional methods. Sustainable cultivation techniques such as crop rotation and soil management helps maintain a healthy processor and preserve biodiversity within Tunisia’s many groves. Beyond providing local jobs and much-needed tax revenue to Tunisia’s economy, this lucrative industry helps drive up other exports including tourism income as more visitors flock to learn about the country’s vibrant past as an important trading hub for much sought-after Mediterranean goods.
Benefits of Olive Oil
Extensive clinical trials have provided evidence that this oil consumption has numerous health benefits. It is considered to be an “extra-virgin” or “virgin” grade, meaning that it was derived from cold pressing of olives, without any other chemical treatments. This increases its antioxidant content and gives it a superior flavor compared to other vegetable oils. As such, extra-virgin oil offers some unique benefits that are not found in other cooking oils.
One of the primary benefits stems from its high levels of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which make up 75-80% of the fat content in this oil and provides many cardiovascular health benefits by helping to lower LDL cholesterol levels. It also contains abundant amounts of antioxidants, including vitamins E and K, carotenoids, polyphenols, and phytosterols, which protect against damage from free radicals and provide anti-inflammatory effects. Further research has also demonstrated that regular consumption of extra-virgin olive oil may reduce the risk for certain cancers, improve insulin sensitivity and help regulate our appetite hormones as well as protect against age-related cognitive decline.
Though other countries such as Turkey, Syria, and Tunisia have smaller but notable production levels, no other nation comes close to Spain in terms of its overall output. As a result, it can be safely concluded that Spain is currently the world’s biggest producer of olive oil.