Olive Oil Trivia & Fun Facts

  • Greece consumes more Olive Oil per capita than any other country (see chart below).
  • Olive Oil is a natural fruit juice, but unlike other fruit juices, Extra Virgin Olive Oil needs no chemical processing and can be enjoyed immediately after its extraction from the fruit.
  • It is believed that Olives were first cultivated in Syria approximately 6,000 years ago.
  • A tablespoon of Olive Oil contains about 120 calories and 14 grams total fat.
  • Light Olive Oil still has the same calories as other Olive Oils, about 120 calories per tablespoon. Light only refers to flavour.
  • For centuries, the olive branch has represented a symbol of peace.
  • Residents of Crete have the highest consumption of Olive Oil per person in the world, and the lowest death rate from heart related diseases.
  • Olive Oil can be mixed with beeswax to create a homemade lip balm.
  • Use Olive Oil on your scalp to reduce dandruff.
  • Winners in the Olympic games were crowned with wreaths of olive leaves.
  • According to the International Olive Council (IOC), U.S. imports of Olive Oil have more than doubled in the last 10 years. Similar trends appear to emerge in other countries as well.
  • Olive trees have a life expectancy of over 500 years, and some olive trees in the Mediterranean are believed to be over 2,000 years old.
  • The olive tree can grow from 15 to 30 feet tall and is an evergreen.
  • The olive is a fruit, not a vegetable.
  • There is no cholesterol in Olive Oil.
  • The first vegetation brought back by a dove to Noah after the flood was a branch from an olive tree.
  • Olives can be green, purple, dark brown, black, and even pink!
  • Olive Oil turns cloudy and solidifies when it’s stored in the fridge, but it doesn’t hurt the oil and it returns to normal once brought back again to room temperature.

Olive Oil Consumption

Country Production Consumption Annual Per Capita
Consumption (in kg)
Spain 36% 20% 13.62
Italy 25% 30% 12.35
Greece 18% 9% 23.7
Turkey 5% 2% 1.2
Syria 4% 3% 6
Tunisia 8% 2% 9.1
Morocco 3% 2% 1.8
Portugal 1% 2% 7.1
United States 0% 8% 0.56
France 0% 4% 1.34
Lebanon 0% 3% 1.18

In summary, the following observations are noteworthy:

  • Spain is the global production leader, producing 36% of the world’s Olive Oil.
  • Italy is the global national consumption leader, consuming 30% of the world’s Olive Oil production.
  • Greece is the global per capita consumption leader, where each citizen consumes 23.7kg of Olive Oil annually.