Olive oil is one of the most representative products of the Spanish agricultural food industry, as the following data indicates:
- Spain is the first olive oil producing country in the world with an average annual production of 1,373,000 tons, even reaching 1,800,000 in recent seasons. With more than 300 million olive trees covering more than 2.4 million hectares, the cultivated surface area is more than 25% of the world's olive growing surface area.
- Spain is also the first exporting country in the world, with annual average exports in the last 5 years of more than 1,017,000 tons, even reaching 1,150,000 tons in 2014.
- Spanish Olive Oil is exported to more than 180 countries in the 5 continents, although the main markets vary depending on whether it is exported in bulk (mainly exports to countries in the European Union) or in containers of less than 5 litres, which are marketed directly to consumers, restaurants, outlets and the best gourmet shops in the whole world:
- Italy is the main market of Spanish olive oil in bulk, followed by the USA, Portugal, UK, Japan and France.
- The main destinations of bottled olive oil Spanish exports are the USA, France, Portugal, UK, Australia, and China.
- Spain still exports a large percentage of its oil in bulk. However, packed exports have increased in importance in a spectacular way and have tripled in the last 5 years and this upward trend is continuing.
- Spanish olive oil is subject to strict quality controls. The producers make their own analyses in their own laboratories, and Spanish authorities take samples from each batch and analyse them to make sure they are all in line with the quality requirements established by the European Union.
- There are more than 260 varieties of olive trees in Spain which produce both mono-varietal oils and mixtures to associate different varieties' complementary qualities and flavours, just as in great wines
Olive oil production in Spain is distributed by regions as follows:
- Andalusia (80 %)
- Castile La Mancha (8%)
- Extremadura (5%)
- Catalonia (3%)
- Rest of Spain (4%)