More than half of UK households now buy olive oil over conventional cooking oils thanks to its health credentials and a fall in price.

Some 50.1% of households are buying olive oil every year, up from 47% last year, according to Nielsen figures [52 w/e 23 February]. The £145.7m UK market is flat by value but up 11% by volume to 30.9 million litres.

"The growth can be attributed to more emphasis on healthy eating and the UK's culinary evolution towards a more Mediterranean diet," said Filippo Berio marketing manager Diana Anderson.

She added that the trend towards lighter and milder variants was also bringing in new users to the category.