The old adage is that any country that produces wine should also make olive oil. Yet, while Chile has been producing oil for 55 years, it exports virtually none of it.

Olive oil producers are hoping that that scenario is about to change.

José Mingo, president of the Chilean Olive Oil Association, admits that the market remains embryonic, with annual production at about 1,800 tonnes of olive oil, most of it extra virgin.

He adds that the main markets for export are the US, Germany, Switzerland, Korea, Brazil and Central America.

However, he predicts that the trend towards premiumisation in the UK could favour Chilean oil, which he claims is of much higher quality than its Spanish and Italian counterparts.

“The scale of production means that for the moment, there is no possibility of entering a big UK supermarket chain as a supplier,” says Mingo.

“However, in the past three years, our olive oil has gained wider recognition and picked up awards at the most important olive oil competitions in Europe.

“First, we need to generate awareness in the UK food market and then communicate to UK consumers. I am sure that in the near future, the UK will become an important market for our olive oils.”

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