Olive oil’s value price sales in Western Europe rose to €3bn (US$3.3bn) in 2016, propelled by the success of private label products and the impact of price increases across the continent, a new market study finds.

According to figures released on 3 May by big data provider IRI, prices rose on average 4.8% despite challenging economic conditions and poor 2015 harvests in Spain, Italy and Greece.

The study revealed a €6.9M (US$7.5M) increase in sales over the previous 12 months, representing actual percentage growth of 0.36%

The largest growth in value sales was experienced in Germany and Spain, with a 7.9% and 6.5% increase respectively, while sales declined the most in Greece (-11.9%) and Italy (-10.4%).

Based on reports from “several countries”, private label was now dominating the olive oil category, driven largely by extended product portfolios and increased promotional activities in the discount channel, IRI said.

“It’s interesting that olive oil, which has traditionally been dominated by recognisable brands, has seen a significant shift in recent years,” said Sebastian Hendricks, consultant at IRI.

“Private label is now better in quality, which is why we have seen the increase of this sector in other categories as well, but we’re also seeing retailers – including the discounters – giving much more shelf space and extending the range of their oils, including organic ranges, in-store,” he added.

In Germany, private label sales increased by 10.8%, while in Greece the segment suffered when the main retailer Marinopoulos, which has a strong private label range, went bankrupt.

The total olive oil price increase in 2016 was 4.8%, noticeably behind the average price increase of 19.8% in 2015 due to the impact of bacterial disease in Italy and a poor harvest in Spain.

The largest price increases were experienced in Greece at 8.2%, followed by Germany and Spain at 7.3% and 7.1% respectively.

The Netherlands and the UK suffered the lowest price increases overall with 1.2% and 1.6% respectively.