In the table of FAO containing olive oil importers of the world, the United Kingdom (UK) ranks sixth. In 2014 the share of the United Kingdom imports in the global olive oil market stood at 3.82%, while in 1990 it was just 0.6%.
According to the British statistics, during the years 2010-2014 the value of olive oil imports in UK recorded significant variation per year. In 2011 an increase of 1.12% was recorded, in 2012 a decrease of 11.9%, in 2013 a significant increase of 16.14%. In 2014, the total imports stood at 36949.8 tons, which worth 85.92 million pounds, with imports being increased by 6.40% in volume but decreased by 2.12% in value.
As stated by the Greek Embassy in London, the main olive oil suppliers of the United Kingdom are in order Spain (with an average percentage of imports during the period 2010-2014, 46.79% of the total value and 53.69% of the total volume), Italy (with 40.75% of the value and 35.04% of the volume), Germany (with 5.36% of the value and 5.45% of the volume) and Greece (with 3.80% of the value and 3.19% of the volume).
Concerning the imports from Greece, as shown in the relevant data, they have recorded gradual but significant decrease since 2010 onwards. More specifically, the market share of Greek olive oil shrunk from 4.24% in volume and 4.97% in value in 2010 to 2.28% and 2.96% respectively in 2014. It must be noted that in 2014 the olive oil occupies the 39th position in the list of Greek products exported to the UK. It must also be indicated that there are amounts of Greek olive oil, which cannot be recorded, because they are imported in UK through Italy, as the major market chains sell in a private label Greek olive oil packed in Italy. Moreover Germany imports olive oil from Mediterranean countries and then exports it to the UK supermarkets.
Around half of the UK households (50%) use olive oil nowadays, while in 2001 they amounted to 31%. For the period 2013-2014, 62 000 tons of olive oil were consumed in the UK, an amount about ten times more than that of 1990, while sales exceeded 160 million pounds (data of 2013). For the period 2014-2015 a small decrease in consumption to 61 000 tonnes is provided.
In the Grand Britain the average per capita olive oil consumption per week was amounted to 15,67 ml in 2013, and was increased by 251% compared to that in 1974 and 64% compared to 2003.
The most important market of UK remains that of London and the surrounding area as well as the South East where more than 49.5 million people live. The commercial importance of this region is due to the population density, to the large number of foreigners from Mediterranean countries residing there who use the olive oil more than other categories of the population, and mainly to the high income per capita of these residents compared with residents of other regions.