Olive oil production in France 2018-2019 : quality guaranteed
The 2018-2019 olive harvest season ended in January. The 2019 growth of olive oil from France proves to be qualitatively interesting… But the yields can be disappointing, for many olive growers and millers.
Season 2018-2019: French olive oils with excellent taste qualities
The start of the olive harvest in the South of France was difficult for French olive oil producers and millers. This olive harvest, in October and November, was carried out in a hurry because of the persistent heavy rains. The fear of losing their entire production prompted small olive oil producers in the South of France to act quickly. As soon as they were harvested, the olives were taken to the mill for urgent pressing.
At the end of the season, from December to January, the wind and the cold favoured an abundant harvest with beautiful olives, conducive to the production of an extra virgin olive oil from France of excellent taste quality.
Overall, the French olive oil of the 2018-2019 season is rather sweet with aromas of fruits and dried fruits. The year 2017-2018 was marked by a rather fiery olive oil production with herbace aromas. Lovers of sweet and fine olive oil will appreciate the 2018-2019 edition with subtle nuances.
French olive oil production 2018-2019: a rare product with declining yields
The production of olive oil in France is very low as it represents only 4% of the olive oil consumed in France (Afidol, 2017). Thus, over the last 5 years, the average French production of olive oil is only 4260 tons out of the 105000 tons consumed in France.
These figures show that olive oil from France has become a rare and hard to find product. The production of olive oil in France is the fruit of the work of small producers and passionate millers. Their logic is far removed from the olive oil industry. Only a quarter of the production of extra virgin olive oil in France is classified as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Controlled Designation of Origin (AOC) with : AOP de la Vallées des Baux de Provence, AOP de Nîmes, AOP de Nyons, AOP de Provence, AOP Haute Provence, AOP Aix en Provence, AOP Nice, AOP Corse, AOP Lucques du Languedoc.
According to the Interprofession, the 2018-2019 production of olive oil in France would be about 5600 tons, against 6433 tons in 2017-2018. This decrease is due to a late flowering of olive trees and difficult weather conditions at the beginning of the season. As a result, yields have fallen significantly. For example, for oil producers in the Var region, for 100 kg of olives, it was necessary to count on an olive oil production of 10 litres, whereas the average is usually around 14 litres.
The 2018-2019 forecasts of olive oil production in France by geographical zones ( Afidol) :
– In Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: about 3600 tons including 2000 tons of olive oil from the Bouches du Rhone.
– The Occitania region: about 1210 tons including 750 tons of olive oil from the Gard.
– In Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: 750 tons including 600 tons of olive oil produced in the Drôme.
The production of French olives is also low, about 1200 tons including 600 tons of olives from Nyons.
This low production of French olive oil is accompanied, of course, by a low consumption of French olive oil (4%). The olive oil market in France is shared between 3 main leading countries with: 63000 tons of olive oil from Spain, 27000 tons from Italy, 11000 tons from Tunisia. This olive oil coming mainly from the EU is sold in hypermarkets and supermarkets. It is therefore very difficult to find real olive oil from France. The labels and traceability descriptions should be read carefully!