Italian Olive Oil. History and the Role of Italy in the Globalized Olive Oil Market


Term Paper, 2019

27 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Excerpt

Table of contents

Table of figures

1. Introduction

2. Italy as the geographic space of investigation

3. Past: The history until the late 20th Century

4. Present: From the late 20th Century until present

5. Predictions of and possibilities for the future

6. Conclusion

Bibliography

Table of figures

Fig. 1: Current Italian Republic

Fig. 2: Average Italian per capita consume of oils and fats 1861 - 1985

Fig. 3: Time Magazine cover from January 13rd, 1961

Fig. 4: The Mediterranean Diet pyramid

Fig. 5: Olive oil consumption in the world's continents 1990/91 and 2015/16

Fig. 6: Olive oil consumption in the World, EU and Italy from 1990/91 until 2018/19

Fig. 7: Olive oil production in the world's continents 1990/91 and 2015/16

Fig. 8: Olive oil production in the world, EU and Italy 1990/91 - 2018/19

Fig. 9: Average annual (2006-2011) olive oil production in Italian regions,

Fig. 10: Olive oil imports of the world, EU and Italy (extra-EC) 1990/91 - 2018/19

Fig. 11: Olive oil exports of the world, EU and Italy (extra-EC) 1990/91 - 2018/19

Fig. 12: Global olive oil market revenue, by region, 2015 - 2025 (USD Billion)

1. Introduction

In 2010 the so called Mediterranean Diet was recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO1. Entitled in this way Italy was one of four countries that were inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity alongside Spain, Greece and Morocco2. «The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a nutritional model that has remained constant over time and space, consisting mainly of olive oil, cereals, fresh or dried fruit and vegetables, a moderate amount of fish, dairy and meat, and many condiments and spices [...]»3. The concept of the Mediterranean Diet was not invented by one of the four mediterranean states but by the American physiologist Ancel Keys at latest in 1975 when he and his wife published the second edition of their 1959 book Eat Well and Stay Well with the addition The Mediterranean Way in the 1975 title which became a bestseller4. This book bases on their famous Seven Countries Study in which Italy amongst other mediterranean countries5 was considered as a country in which people in average live longer due to their healthier way of nutrition which was the initial point of developping the concept of the eminent Mediterranean Diet that contains with Italy and olive oil two strongly related elements that were communicated and also lived6 by Keys by moving to Italy7. Since then the global demand for olive increased8. In 2016/17 Italy and Spain were the biggest olive oil consumer in the world with an annual consumption of 442,900 t and 438,900 t, respectively9. Moreover, in the same year Italy was the third biggest olive oil producer in the world after Spain and Greece with an amount of 182,300 t of produced olive oil. Although the demand for Italian olive oil and its worldwide awareness surely grew due to the existence and the communication of the Mediterranean Diet concept but this must not neglect the fact that «olive oil has been part of the populations’ diets in the Mediterranean region fort thousands of years»10 11 and its production in Italy has a history of just as many years in which its daily use became deeply routed in the Italian society what Keys analyzed in his study. Firstly, this paper gives a short overview of the history of olive oil in Italy from the first evidences of olive oil production until the late 20th Century. Secondly and as the focus of this work, this paper illustrates Italy’s role in the globalized olive oil market in the last three decades until now.

2. Italy as the geographic space of investigation

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The space of investigation of this paper is the current state territory of the Italian Republic - known in common parlance as Italy - that exists since 1946 (see fig. 1). In the following chapters the term Italy will be used frequently but its meaning varies. In the following chapter 3 the term Italy is used for the space of investigation that is constituted by the current Italian Republic (see fig. 1) for reasons of simple readability and sameness of the space of investigation. As a consequence, this definition does explicitly neither mean nor consider the different political entities like the Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946). From chapter 4 onwards the term Italy is correctly used for the current Italian Republic both space and state.

3. Past: The history until the late 20th Century

The original existence of the olive tree is supposed east of the Adriatic Sea, especially in Anatolia - «the motherland of the wild olive tree [,..]»12 13 14 - and the Levantine from where it was probably brought to the eastern half of the Mediterranean basin by the Phoenicians after its domestication by the Phoenicians and later to Italy by the Greeks13,14. With this spread and distribution of the olive tree - from «[...] the oldest known evidence for olive oil extraction»15 (7100 - 6300 BP on the Levantine coast)16 - it's possible to assume that it's use for olive oil production was distributed as well since olive oil was used as a fuel and as a perfume later during the Bronze Age although «[...] it's exact purpose is not well known»17. The first evidence of olive oil in Italy was found in Coppa Nevigata (northern Apulia) dated to the 18. Century BC18 and in Vivara (Procida) dated to a slightly later point of time19.

Vossen concludes the distribution, the importance and the use of olive oil during the ancient times in Italy and Europe in his description quite well as follows:

The first recorded agronomic writings can be attributed to the Romans, and certainly the expansion and prosperity of the Roman Empire was instrumental in the spread of olive plantings and oil processing facilities all around the Mediterranean basin. The Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and the north coast of Africa became large production areas of olive oil that was shipped in large amphorae to England, Germany, France, and Italy. Olive oil in these times had many documented uses. All the cultures used olive primarily as lamp fuel, which was its greatest value. Many rituals involved the use of olive oil, including the anointing of royalty, warriors, and the general public for religious purposes. The term Messiah means “the anointed one.” Fragrant olive oils were used to make offerings to the Gods, as pharmaceutical ointments to cure diseases, and to make the skin and hair appear healthier. The Greeks ceremoniously rubbed olive oil onto athlete's skin then scraped it off with the sweat and dust after competition. It was also used to make soap and to consecrate the dead. Very little record exists of olive oil being used for human consumption.

During the Middle Ages the importance and the production of olive oil increased in Italy including other countries such as Spain and Greece 21,22. Probably during this time the olive oil became so important - particularly in the southern Euorpean countries - that with the transition to the Early Modern times «European food [...] relied on olive oil or butter for cooking oil»20 21 22 23. With the discovery of the American continent by Columbus in 1492 and the initializing transatlantic trade - the Columbian Exchange - new goods were introduced in the respective continents. Hence, i. a. «the olive tree was introduced into the New World in South America by the Spanish (explorers and monks) at the beginning of the 1500’s (Colombia, Peru, but later on the west coast of the USA)»24.

Additional and interesting information: Vice cersa for example. tomatoes and potatoes were brought from the Americas to the European continent. It's interesting that potatoes are considered as typical German and tomatoes as typical Italian food although their origins are in the Americas and came to both countries due to the Columbian Exchange.

«The greatest expansion of olive oil production came after the 1700s, when large plantings of olives, largely relegated to the worst land, were made to supply the growing populations of cities»25.

From a quotation of the German historian Wolfgang Menzel the obvious widespread use of (olive) oil in Italy and the still existing difference of the German (representing northern Europe) and the Italian (representing southern Europe) use of fats and oils respectively:

Alle Oelspeisen in Italien übertreffen an Wohlgeschmack unsere mit der besten Butter zubereiteten Speisen, wie denn niemals eine thierische Fettigkeit die Zartheit der vegetabilischen erreicht, wo sie in solcher Vollkommenheit erscheint, wie das italienische Oel26.

Translation in English: All Italian dishes cooked with oil have a better flavour than our [German] best dishes cooked with butter because the animal fattiness will never reach the tenderness of the vegetarian oiliness whose perfection reveals itself in the Italian oils27.

With the scientific progress such as for example in chemistry and physics in the 19th and 20th century it became possible to extract oil out of other seeds. Together with the development of gas and electricity as a source for light resulted in a decline of the demand for olive oil28 29.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 2: Average Italian per capita consume of oils and fats 186

This can only result in a decreasing olive oil share of all consumed oils and in Italy because from the year of the Unification of Italy (1861) until the beginning of the 1920s the per capita consume of oils and fats has been quite stable before it had a higher amount in the following two decades (see fig. 2.). During the 1940s in which Italy participated at the Second World War (1940-1945) the per capita consume of oils and fats had the lowest consume amount in the considered period 1861 - 1985 what happened with all kinds of foods and beverages, by the way30.

After the Second World War - in 1959 - the International Olive Council (IOC) was founded for supporting and promoting olive oil31. The same year «[...] Ancel and Margaret Keys published Eat Well and Stay Well, which immediately became a best seller in USA. The success of this book was so great that in 1961 Ancel Keys’ gentle and genius face was on the cover of the Time Magazine»32 33 (see fig. 3).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 3: Time Magazine cover from January 13rd, 196133

In this book he presented the results of his Seven Countries Study (Finland, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, USA, Yugoslavia) in which he examined i. a. the nutritional behaviour of the countries’ population.

L’esito piu immediatamente riconoscibile del Seven countries study sono le linee guida sulla nutrizione dettate dall’Organizzazione mondiale della sanita (Oms), che risentono largamente dell’influenza di questo studio periodizzante. Esso rappresenta un passo decisivo verso la definizione e la promozione del modello alimentare che va sotto il nome di «dieta mediterranea»34

Translation in English: The most immediately identifiable results of the Seven Countries Study were the guidelines on nutrition of the World Health Organization (WHO) which were strongly influenced by this periodizing study. This represents a crucial step towards the definition and the promotion of the nutritional model which is called the «Mediterranean diet»35 36.

In the second edition of Eat Well and Stay Well which had the addition in its title The Mediterranean Way and was published in 1975 this model became world famous (see fig. 4).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Olive oil (especially Italian olive oil) as one of the main food items that are considered as particularly sane according to this study gained successively more attention by society and the market. Nevertheless, in the 1970s the olive oil market can be qualified as still quite a stable one37 whether the per capita amount of oils and fats increased already after the Second World War in the 1950s (see fig. 2). This still relatively low share of olive oil in the years after the Second World War until the 1970s was tied to the socioeconomical situation in the Mediterranean countries which at that time still constituted the centre of the global olive oil market. «As little as 40 years ago there was a glut of olive oil on the world market. The widespread poverty in Spain, southern Italy, and Greece made the use of expensive products like olive oil prohibitive for many people»38.

In contrast, the situation and the market changed in the following years. Neves and Pires mention stimuli that had an increase in the worldwide demand for olive oil as a consequence. The first one is the existence of the already mentioned IOC which organized pro-olive oil campaigns39. The second one is the European Union (EU) which supported the IOC from 1985 until 2002 with an amount of 150 Million Euros and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) especially around the turn of the millennium40. The last one is the Slow Food Movement.

In Rome, Italy, in the 1990s, fast food restaurants began to gain a prominent place in the market. In response to the spread of fast food restaurants, a movement arose. The Slow Food Movement started by promoting healthy diets in which olive oil had an important role. This movement soon started to outgrowth convening an international extent and becoming a philosophy of life, encouraging local and sustainable agri-food systems and local food traditions, adjusting food in view of its cultural, social, economic, geographical and environmental contexts through alternative food networks41.

All this resulted in a growth of the global demand for mediterranean olive oil - as a consequence for the Italian olive oil as well - since the 80s/90s.

4. Present: From the late 20th Century until present

Thanks to the existence of the IOC the global olive oil market can be quantitatively illustrated rather well since the organization collects worldwide data for many countries.

[...]


1 Olive Oil Times, Mediterranean Diet Makes UNESCO's Intangible Heritage List, https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-basics/world/mediterranean-diet-unescos-intangible-heritage-list/9269 (last access 06 giugno 2019)

2 Ibidem

3 Ibidem

4 E. Moro, La dieta mediterranea Mito e storia di uno stile di vita, Bologna, Societâ editrice il Mulino, Spa, 2014, pp. 37-41

5 H. Tunstall-Pedoe & A. Evans, How to Eat Well and Stay Well the Mediterrenean Way, in «DIALOGUES IN CARDIOVASCULAR MEDICINE» 13(2008), n. 3, p. 218

6 R. Saulle & G. La Torre, The Mediterranean Diet, recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity, in «Italian Journal of Public Health» 7(2010), n. 4, p. 414

7 H. Tunstall-Pedoe & A. Evans, How to Eat Well and Stay Well the Mediterrenean Way, p. 218

8 B. Neves & I. M. Peres, The Mediterranean Diet and the Increasing Demand of the Olive Oil Sector: Shifts and Environmental Consequences, in «Region» 5(2018), n. 1, pp. 101-112

9 International Olive Council, World Olive Oil Consumption, www.internationaloliveoil.org/documents/viewfile/4191-consommation1-ang/ (last access 26 aprile 2019)

10 J. De Graaff, V. H. Duran Zuazo, N. Jones & L. Fleskens, Olive production systems on sloping land: Prospects and scenarios, In «A Sustainable Future for Olive Production on Sloping Land» 89(2008), n. 2, p. 129-139, cited by B. Neves & I. M. Peres, The Mediterranean Diet and the Increasing Demand of the Olive Oil Sector: Shifts and Environmental Consequences, p. 103

11 Istituto nazionale di statistica, Confini delle unita amministrative a fini statistici al 1 gennaio 2018, www.istat.it/storage/cartografia/confini amministrativi/non generalizzati7Limiti01012018.zip (last access 05 giugno 2019)

12 C. M. Breton, P. Warnock & A. J. Bervillé, Origin and History of the Olive, in I. Muzzalupo (a cura di), Olive Germplasm: The Olive Cultivation, Table Olive and Olive Oil Industry in Italy, Rijeka, InTech, 2012, p. 4

13 Ibidem, pp. 4 & 8

14 V. Uylaser & G. Yildiz, The Historical Development and Nutritional Importance of Olive and Olive Oil Constituted and Important Part of the Mediterranean Diet, in «Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition» 54(2014), n. 8, p. 1093

15 C. M. Breton, P. Warnock & A. J. Bervillé, Origin and History of the Olive, p. 10

16 Ibidem, p. 10

17 Ibidem, p. 5

18 A. Cazzella & G. Recchia, The ‘Mycenaeans’ in the central mediterrenean: A comparison between the adriatic and the tyrrhenian seaways, in «Pasiphae» 3(2009), p. 27

19 Ibidem, pp. 4-5

20 P. Vossen, Olive Oil: History, Production, and Characteristics of the World's Classic Oils, in «HortScience» 42(2007), n. 5, p. 1093

21 Ibidem, p. 1093

22 V. Uylaser, G. Yildiz, The Historical Development and Nutritional Importance of Olive and Olive Oil Constituted and Important Part of the Mediterranean Diet, p. 1093

23 T. Grennes, The Columbian Exchange and the Reversal of Fortune, in «Cato Journal» 91(2007), n. 1, p. 94

24 C. M. Breton, P. Warnock & A. J. Bervillé, Origin and History of the Olive, p. 8

25 P. Vossen, Olive Oil: History, Production, and Characteristics of the World's Classic Oils, p. 1093

26 W. Menzel, Reise nach Italien im Frühjahr, Stuttgart/Tübingen, Cotta, 1835, p. 342

27 W. Menzel, Reise nach Italien im Frühjahr, p. 342 (translated by Adrian Burk)

28 P. Vossen, Olive Oil: History, Production, and Characteristics of the World's Classic Oils, pp. 1093-1094

29 Istituto nazionale di statistica, Sommario di statistiche storiche dell’Italia 1861 - 1975, Roma, 1976; Istituto nazionale di statistica, Sommario di statistiche storiche 1926 - 1985, Roma, 1986, elaborated by E. Scarpellini, La rivoluzione dei consumi in Italia, in S. Cavazza & E. Scarpellini (a cura di), Storia d’Italia. Annali. Vol 27: I consumi, Torino, Einaudi, 2018, p. 21

30 Ibidem, p. 21

31 B. Neves & I. M. Peres, The Mediterranean Diet and the Increasing Demand of the Olive Oil Sector: Shifts and Environmental Consequences, p. 103

32 E. Moro, La dieta mediterranea Mito e storia di uno stile di vita, pp. 61-65

33 Time Magazine, Ancel Keys - Jan. 13, 1961, http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19610113,00.html (last access 13 giugno 2019)

34 E. Moro, La dieta mediterranea Mito e storia di uno stile di vita, p. 35

35 Ibidem, p. 35 (translated by Adrian Burk)

36 Oldways, The Mediterranean Diet pyramid, https://oldwayspt.org/system/files/atoms/files/MedDietPyramid- Spanish flyer.pdf (last access 14 giugno 2019)

37 B. Neves & I. M. Peres, The Mediterranean Diet and the Increasing Demand of the Olive Oil Sector: Shifts and Environmental Consequences, p. 10

38 P. Vossen, Olive Oil: History, Production, and Characteristics of the World's Classic Oils, p. 1094

39 B. Neves & I. M. Peres, The Mediterrenean Diet and the Increasing Demand of the Olive Oil Sector: Shifts and Environmental Consequences, p. 103

40 A. Scheidet, F. Krausmann, Diet, trade and land use: A socio-ecological analysis of the transformation of the olive oil system, in «Land Use Policy» 28(2011), pp. 47-56, cited by B. Neves & I. M. Peres, The Mediterrenean Diet and the Increasing Demand of the Olive Oil Sector: Shifts and Environmental Consequences, pp. 103-104

41 B. Neves & I. M. Peres, The Mediterrenean Diet and the Increasing Demand of the Olive Oil Sector: Shifts and Environmental Consequences, p. 104

Excerpt out of 27 pages

Details

Title
Italian Olive Oil. History and the Role of Italy in the Globalized Olive Oil Market
College
University of Bologna
Course
Introduction to Italian Culture
Grade
1,0
Author
Year
2019
Pages
27
Catalog Number
V937358
ISBN (eBook)
9783346260567
ISBN (Book)
9783346260574
Language
English
Tags
history, olive oil, italy, globalized, market
Quote paper
Adrian Burk (Author), 2019, Italian Olive Oil. History and the Role of Italy in the Globalized Olive Oil Market, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/937358

Comments

  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Italian Olive Oil. History and the Role of Italy in the Globalized Olive Oil Market



Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free