Does olive oil benefit from the sunflower oil crisis?

“For sunflower oil, our stocks go until June. Before the microphone of BFMTV, at the beginning of April, Michel-Edouard Leclerc wanted to be reassuring. Except that the prices of raw Materials fly away, in a context where theUkraine, invaded by Russia, is the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil. As a result, supermarket shelves are stressed. Where they usually buy a liter of sunflower oil, consumers fill their shopping cart with three litres. Next door, bottles of olive oil continue to fill the shelves. Good news for growers provencea region where there are more than 3.2 million olive trees, that is, two thirds of the French olive grove?

“If there is less sunflower oil, customers will look for another product, but it will be olive oil, butter, I can’t tell you, but if there is any impact, it will be on the margins for us,” says Yves Guillaumin. , director of France Olive, an association that brings together professionals in the sector. In fact, the olive oil present in supermarkets is mostly imported olive oil, at an average price of 7 euros. Spain supplies the largest volumes, followed by Italy and Tunisia.

a local market

Of the 120,000 tons of olive oil consumed in France, 115,000 come from abroad and 9,500 are produced here, according to figures from France Olive. “You are not going to fry with French olive oil at 25 euros per litre”, continues Yves Guillaumin. 80% of the Provençal production is sold in oil mills, delicatessens and in short-circuit. “We are in a market niche with high added value,” he continues. It is a production under the sign of quality with seven AOP. We decided to stay with our historical varieties and have a traditional orchard. »

“The production volumes do not cover the demand”, analyzes Bénédicte Martin, elected responsible for agriculture, viticulture, rurality and terroir in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. On Thursday she presented in Marseille the prizes of the region’s 20th olive oil contest. And she evoked “a production balance point closer to 7,000 tons than 5,000 tons to respond to a real and dynamic local market. »

No communicating vessel effect

“Olive groves are planted every year,” says Yves Guillaumin, specifying that about ten years pass before a tree begins to produce. Where the apricot tree or the vine show signs of weakness, agriculture diversifies. “With the almond tree, the olive tree fits well into this scheme,” he continues. The sector works above all on its professionalization and on the recovery of the production of small abandoned orchards. Not to mention fighting bacteria. Xylella fastidiosa.

Therefore, it is not a question of competing with the high-density orchards found in the southernmost part of the Mediterranean basin, where the climatic conditions are also more advantageous. And less with sunflower oil, the most consumed in France. Therefore, there is no effect of communicating vessels. “And when it comes to imported olive oil, the volumes that are in the vats are not going to increase anyway, concludes Yves Guillaumin. The only thing maybe, there may be an impact on the price. »

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