Global consumption of olive oil has grown by 79% over the last 25 years, with Japan experiencing a 1,400% increase in consumption, according to a report by the Italian farmers’ group Coldiretti published by the Olive Oil Times.

Total world olive oil consumption in 2015/2016 was 3,295,911 tonnes. Italy was the top consumer at 640,443 tonnes, followed by Spain with 540,133 tonnes and the USA, which consumed 339,512 tonnes, a 250% increase compared with 1990/91.

Over the 25-year period, Japan recorded the highest percentage increase in terms of consumption, showing a 1,400% jump from 4,000 tonnes consumed in 1990/91 against 66,139 tonnes in 2016/16.

UK and German consumption rose by 763% and 465% respectively.

“The situation is very different in traditional consumer countries like Italy where, over the last 25 years, consumption has remained almost flat, with a modest 8% expansion,” Olive Oil Times said.

Spain showed growth of 24% over the period, while Greece had a surprising 26% drop.

Growth in global demand for olive oil had been powered in part by the health benefits associated with the consumption of olive oil, the report said.

Coldiretti said there was promising opportunity for Italian producers, who exported almost 352,740 tonnes of olive oil last year, 110,000 tonnes of which went to the USA.

Coldiretti president Roberto Moncalvo said: “Credibility is the key to succeeding in international markets, where new and aggressive competitors appear that must be faced with a renewed commitment at the level of environmental, social and economic sustainability.”