March 9, 2021

The Domestic Olive Oil Market for Household Use Grows to $400 Million

A $500 Million Market is in Reach With Further Development of Latent Demand and Mining of Gift Demand

The history of olive oil in Japan is not a long one. The market formed in earnest with the Italian food boom of the 1990s. Its success was backed by olive oil's health value and its wider use as raw oil. Until now, market expansion has been driven by increasing purchasing volume among middle-aged and older consumers, who form the heavy use segment, as well as broadening menu options. Ideas for ways to use olive oil as a condiment across Japanese, Western, and Chinese cuisines are getting traction, and the fringes of the market, such as use by young consumers, are spreading. But still, only a low 55% of consumers have ever purchased olive oil. Ideas for recipes and convenient uses, directed at lighter users, will be needed in future.

Store shelf space is occupied by extra virgin (EXV) oils, most of which are high-priced, differentiated products, and the pure type, which is the standard grade. Amid the Covid-19 crisis, demand for eating at home is very likely to continue in the near term, and the pandemic has the further effect of raising interest in health and stronger immune function, so there are many factors boosting this market. Bringing out gift demand and finding more latent demand could make this a $500 million market.

Products and Menu Ideas With Good Flavor Cost Performance
Olive oil has the potential to remain a growth category. That's because younger consumers in the 20s and 30s, child-raising households, and the food services and business markets are still developing. Oil manufacturers see the main barriers to diffusion and publicity as the price, for younger consumers and child-raising households, and the fact that children tend to dislike the scent and taste of extra virgin oil. To address the taste issue, Japanese oil manufacturers intend to keep on offering taste testing opportunities in stores and at events, and to increase their lineups of general-purpose pure-type products with lighter flavors and gentle tastes.