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Olive oil market in India begins to slow

Olive Oil and Olive Pomace Oil imports to India in the first half of the fiscalwere 5650 Metric Tonnes (MT), up from 5073 MT in the previous fiscal, registering a growth rate of 11.40%. While Q-1 (April - June) registered a growth of 25%, Q-2 (June - September) had a decrease of3% when compared with the same quarters in the previous fiscal.

Spain and Italy continued to dominate Indian imports in the current fiscal providing 59 and 33%respectively. Greece was a distant third with 5%.

Growth of olive oil imports to India have slowed when compared with the blistering rate of 66% witnessed in the previous full fiscal year. Much of the growth deceleration is due to a rise in olive oil prices of upto 40% since January, 2013. Price increases came about due to a severe crop shortfall lastyear coupled with the steep depreciation of the rupee. An economic slowdown in India completed the trio of factors which saw a decrease in the rate at which consumers were switching to olive oil fromother seed oils. While this year's crop is normal and producer prices in Spain and Italy have started a downward trend, it will be some months before this translates into declining retail prices.

Growth of olive oil consumption in India is being driven by health factors since India is World No.1 incardiac problems with an estimated 10% of the population affected or 100 million+ persons in 2012. According to WHO, heart disease would be the single greatest killer in India by 2015. Urban India has ahigher incidence as over 40% of urban Indians have high lipid levels. India is also the No.2 diabetes capital of the world with an estimated 61 million persons affected. 140 million people in India have highblood pressure which is 14% of all world patients.

The high percentage of mono-unsaturated fat in olive oil (80%+) and the low saturated fat addresses all three issues heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. In addition, the high anti-oxidants in olive oil fight cancer and increase life expectancy. As olive oil is used in a much lower proportion than other edible oils, as low as 1/3rd, the perception that it is expensive to use is incorrect.

by S. C.
13 january 2014, World News > Asia

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