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A Recipe for Success: Italian Olive Oil Exporters

Olive oil has long been one of Italy's most successful exports. This blog explores the history of Italian olive oil exporters and their present day success.

Since 2006, the GDP of Italy has declined by 6.23%. However, there is an Italian excellence recognised all over the world that has bucked the trend, experiencing a dramatic increase of 21.80% in exports: olive oil.

Bottles of olive oil

History of Olive Oil

It is thought that olive cultivation was brought to southern Italy by Greeks around the VIII–VII century BC, and was widely adopted by the Romans of the time. In those days, the main use of olive oil was primarily used to light lamps, given the low amount of water inside the oil. Romans then began adopting the use of olive oil not only for lamps but also in cooking, bathing, medication, and rituals.

The wide exposure to olive oil in the Roman lifestyle led to the development of better extraction processes and became a source of income for some. Recognizing the importance of olive oil, Roman emperors insisted that olive oil be imported from Spain to Rome to meet the needs of the empire, even though “Romans believed that the finest olive oil was the one produced in central Italy”, as reported by Dalby in “Food in the Ancient World A to Z”. Since ancient times, then, olive oil has been recognized as an extremely valuable commodity.

Figures from an Ever-Growing Export Industry

From 1990/91 to 2015/2016, the world consumption of olive oil increased by 79%. As shown in the picture, the country that experienced the largest increase in consumption over this period was Japan, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, and Russia.

There are many explanations for this increase, but most of them relate to the health benefits of olive oil. It has been proved that olive oil may help in preventing strokes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, treating rheumatoid arthritis, and has been found to have anti-cancer properties. Therefore, the more the people understand the benefits of this product the more they are willing to consume it.

Table of Italian Olive Oil Exporters. Headings: Country, 1990/91, 2015/2016 (PREV), Difference, Japan, 4.0, 60.0, 1400%, United Kingdom, 6.8, 58.7, 763%, Germany, 10.3, 58.2, 465%, Brazil, 13.5, 66.5, 393%, Russia, 5.0, 21.0, 320%, France, 28.0, 103.0, 268%, United States, 88.0, 308.0, 250%, Portugal, 27.0, 74.0, 174%, Turkey, 55.0, 124.0, 125%, Spain, 394.1, 490.0, 24%, Italy, 540.0, 580.8, 8%, Greece, 204.0, 150.0, -26%, China, Blank, 6.0, Blank, Total, 1666.5, 2989.0, 79%

Figure 1. Data are expressed in thousands of metric tons. Source: Olive Oil Times

Monini: One of the Top Italian Olive Oil Exporters

In 1920, Zefferrino Monini founded one of the leading brands in the olive oil industry, Monini. Over the years, Monini has established a strong marketing campaign in Italy based on two ideologies: education and innovation.

Monini are influential in educating more than 1,500 schools in how olive oil is made, and how best to utilise Monini olive oil in cooking and food preparation. Monini are leading sponsors in festivals such as the Spoleto Festival – an international musical, cultural and artistic festival and a social eating platform called ‘Gnammo’. Moreover, like almost any company trying to attract new customers, they are active across social media platforms; Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Once Monini recognized the success of its marketing strategy, the next step was to expand. Monini didn’t wait long. After becoming the leading olive oil brand in Italy, it soon expanded into Europe and America. By 2002, 25% of Monini’s revenue was coming from exports, selling Italy’s most famous olive oil in over 45 countries.

To accommodate its international customers, Monini took the decision to localize its website and online marketing. Monini created personalized websites for Poland, USA, France, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Australia. The marketing strategy on the Ukrainian and Polish websites is primarily focused on contests, designed to engage customers with the brand, while the marketing strategy on the American website is more focused on the product itself. In fact, the American website is the only one with a dedicated online store – the other websites only have shop locators.

On social media, the company uses a content marketing strategy based on recipes that encourage customers to try the entire range of olive oil flavors on offer, and pictures of events in which the company takes part. By translating their content, Monini’s aim is to integrate the great reputation of their Italian olive oil with the food and culture of countries around the world. Engaging customers in their own language has helped strengthened Monini’s international reputation, enhancing its global export potential.

Olive Oil Infographic

We're Here to Support You with Your Export Strategy

Like the Italian olive oil exporters, introducing your product to other countries will allow you to expand your business and your customer base. Garnering international exposure opens a large variety of opportunities that you might not be aware of. As indicated by the European Commission, 90% of Europeans spend most of their time on websites in their own language when surfing online, and 42% of these surfers would never buy products or services if the information is not available in their mother tongue. Moreover, running a multilingual website will improve your SEO on a global scale, making it easy for people to search for and find your products and services.

Here at Wolfestone Group, we offer multilingual SEO consultancy services as well as localization services. We can help you to distribute your message, exactly as you intend it to be heard, in many different languages, across many different countries. Maintaining the communication with your new international clients will be smooth like fine Italian olive oil!

Contact us if you want to find out more about our Italian translation services or any other language.


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