The renaissance of the Australian olive industry is entering its second decade. During the last 10 years, the Australian industry has grown solidly from a cottage industry to a technically sophisticated industry that is increasingly export focussed.
Over this time, the quality of Australian olive oil has consistently improved, and production efficiencies increased, to the point where high quality and affordable Australian extra virgin olive oil is now widely accessible to consumers both in Australia and Internationally.
The growth in the table olive sector has been slower, yet there is significant scope for further growth in expanding domestic and international markets.
Significant growth always presents additional challenges. Waste from oil and table olive production needs to be appropriately managed, or even better, utilised for both economic and environmental gain. Inputs also need to be used with greater economy. In particular, the efficient use of scarce and increasingly expensive water resources will always be a high priority for the Australian olive industry.
Effective strategies that could be used to inspire domestic and international consumers to further switch from European to the Australian product also need to be investigated in order to grow demand.
Future growth for the Australian Olive Industry
There is also significant growth potential for Australian olive oil in the emerging markets of China and India. Exports to China have increased significantly in the previous two years and India’s recent decision to reduce significantly import duties on olive oil from what many would consider previously debilitating 45 per cent to 7.5 per cent, will be helpful in olive oils obtaining a greater share of the edible fat market in that country.
However, Australian exporters face increased competition from larger New World producers from Chile, Argentina and the United States who have started to produce high quality extra virgin olive oil from highly mechanised super high-density groves