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Olive Oil Likely to Soak Up 30% More Bread

February 14, 1996|From Bloomberg Business News

MATAWAN, N.J. — Olive oil prices are expected to rise 30% or more this year because drought-reduced supplies can't keep up with rising demand, a trade group said.

Worldwide demand for olive oil has increased to about 1.75 million tons, more than the worldwide supply of about 1.55 million tons, according to the North American Olive Oil Assn. based here.

The group said prices might fall slightly if the olive-growing regions in the Mediterranean get significant rain in May or June. The rain would "create a psychology that there will be bigger supplies in November," said the group's president, Richard Sullivan.

Total olive oil sales in U.S. supermarkets for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 3 were $253.4 million, up 12% from the same period a year earlier, according to Information Resources Inc.

The olive oil company Bertoli USA Inc., which is owned by the Dutch company Unilever, led the market with $85.2 million in sales, up $7.4 million from the previous fiscal year. The company held a 33.6% market share.

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