the olive market


1.1 Definition and presentation

The olive is a typically Mediterranean fruit, which is consumed in two forms: either as a condiment or as a table olive, or it is pressed to produce olive oil.

Olives are not edible immediately after harvesting; table olives are obtained by processing the fruit to make it softer and less bitter. This treatment usually involves maceration in cold water, then boiling and finally resting for months in a brine composed of salt water and possibly herbs. Another possibility is to replace this last phase with the conservation in olive oil. Olive oil is obtained by crushing fresh fruit, then filtering, centrifuging, heating (or not) the paste to extract the oil. There are various industrial processes for the extraction of oil, the main ones are cold extraction (which should give the best oil), continuous extraction or integral method. Olive oil is one of the main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, known as the Cretan diet; and in addition it is also used for cosmetics.

Italians are fierce consumers of olive oil, more than 9 out of 10 use olive oil every day, but in 2017-2019 production decreased due to bad weather. The consumption of olive oil has not been satisfied exclusively internally, in fact Italy has recently proved to be a strong importer of oil, in particular for the need to respond to the needs of consumers. About 90% of the olives are used for the production of oil, despite the fact that the consumption of table olives has great potential, which is gradually being discovered.

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