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Eurozone olive oil firms face threat from America.

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By   1st September 2012.

The growing olive oil market in the US is poised to be a “battleground” between the historic European producers and their new challengers from California, Chile and Australia, according to agricultural analysts at Rabobank.  The eurozone’s struggling economies face a further blow as olive oil moves West, experts have warned.

Spain, Italy and Greece, who together dominate global production of the Mediterranean staple, are being threatened by tough competition from their New World rivals.

The growing olive oil market in the US is poised to be a “battleground” between the historic European producers and their new challengers from California, Chile and Australia, according to agricultural analysts at Rabobank.

If the European producers lose, it would represent another hit to their faltering economies, which are the focus of investors’ concerns amid the eurozone debt crisis.

Currently, large Spanish and Italian companies supply the bulk of olive oil in the US, where imports account for more than 99pc of the $1bn-plus (£629m) retail market.

Italy enjoys a 51pc market share, while Spain, the world’s largest olive oil producing nation, has 23pc.

However, the analysts at Rabobank say that US producers, by highlighting their high quality production processes and exploiting the strong consumer appeal of a local label, are expected to capture 5pc of the overall American olive oil market in five years.

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