The European Union (EU) expects olive oil consumption to increase in non-producing countries and for production among its members to increase steadily by about 1.1% or 400,000 tonnes over the next decade, according to its 2019-2030 agricultural outlook report.

The increasing production was attributed to the shift from traditional to super-intensive olive groves on the Iberian Peninsula as well as the modernisation of irrigation systems and improvement of agronomic conditions of trees, Olive Oil Times said on 26 December.

The majority of the growth would take place in Portugal, which could become the third largest olive oil producer globally by 2030.

The outlook report, published in December, said changing eating habits and the younger generation’s concern about health and the environment were two of the reasons behind the expected growth in consumption.

Overall, olive oil consumption in in non-producing EU states was expected to increase by eight percentage points. Non-producing countries would make up 32% of total consumption in the trading bloc.

“Along with increasing consumption, the EU also anticipates that exports to the rest of the world will increase by 3.3%/year between 2019 and 2030,” Olive Oil Times wrote.

The optimistic outlook was in spite of the uncertainty of future relations with the UK, one of the largest markets for olive oil in the EU, which was set to begin leaving the EU on 31 January.

There were also complications with relations with the USA, which was reviewing whether it would increase tariffs on Spanish olive oil imports, or apply new tariffs on other EU olive oil imports, as a result of a World Trade Organization ruling in favour of the USA over EU subsidies to European aerospace firm Airbus.