Turkey produces substantial amounts of olive oil every year, but its citizens consume far less than citizens in other major produces such as Greece, Italy and Spain. In Italy and Greece the consumption of olive oil is 11.5 and 25 kilos respectively, per capita each year, while in Turkey the consumption is just 1 kilo.
The president of the Olive and Olive Oil Promotion Committee (ZZTK), Metin Oiken thinks the low levels of consumption are due to a lack of information. Although consumption has increased over the past few years, there is still a need to market the oil properly and educate local consumers over its health benefits.
Some of these problems lie in the fact that much of the olive oil in Turkey isn’t properly labelled, but more people are becoming aware of healthy living.
Traditionally consumption used to be highest in the coastal regions where the olive groves are situated, but now levels are increasing in Anatolia. ZZTK has been promoting the product over the last year or so in shopping centres in Istanbul, Bursa and Ankara.
At the moment Turkey produces around 200,000 tons of olive oil annually, but production is expected to increase to 600,000 tons within the next three years. This means domestic consumption needs to increase to absorb this extra production. In addition, Turkey is focusing its efforts on exporting more olive oil to China, and the committee is intending to hold a series of events this year and next as part of the “Year of Turkey.”