Olive oil importers are looking forward to a bumper year of sales in the UK.

Filippo Berio, the UK's leading olive oil brand, predicts retail sales will break the £150m mark by the summer, on the back of a long, hot summer.

More than one in two households will buy the product in the course of the year, according to Walter Zanré, Filippo Berio's UK country manager.

He said: "With an exceptionally hot summer of salads and al fresco dining predicted, once the peak spring and summer sales period is assessed, I'm very confident the £150m and 50% penetration landmarks will be reached.

Prices are firming, with extra virgin grades up 8-10% since the start of the year and lower-quality Lampante up 20%. Nonetheless, Zanré says there is plenty of room for sales growth.

"Italians report a yearly per head olive oil consumption of more than 12 litres. In the UK it's still just half a litre per year, so there is still enormous potential."