Skip to main content

Olive oil, the Mediterranean and the world

Abstract

In the last thirty years there has been a growing interest in the use of olive oil in cooking because of greater knowledge of Mediterranean foods and an awareness of the healthy virtues of a Mediterranean diet, and particularly olive oil. In spite of this the consumption of olive oil is negligible outside the Mediterranean region, where most of the world's olive oil is produced and consumed, and which provides nearly all exports and receives a majority of the imports. This seems to be due to the very demanding climatic requirements of the olive tree and the fact that virtually all olive trees are grown in a Mediterranean-type climate. Although the olive tree was taken to areas with a similar climate during the European expansion after 1492, it has never become an important part of the diet in the Americas, in spite of the role of Mediterranean populations settling in the continent. The very high cost of olive oil compared with oilseeds has made its penetration of non-Mediterranean markets very difficult, and indeed the consumption of olive oil has declined in the face of such competition even in some of the Mediterranean countries.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • D'Amicis A. and Farchi S., 1999: Olive oil consumption and cancer mortality in Italy. Advances in experimental medicine and biology 472: 67–71.

    Google Scholar 

  • Amiran D.H.K., 1964: Land use in Israel. In: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. Land use in semi-arid Mediterranean climates, pp. 101–112. UNESCO, Paris.

    Google Scholar 

  • Arnstrup A., Marckmann P. and Blundell J., 2000: Oiling of health messages in marketing of food. The Lancet 356: 1786–1787.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aschmann H., 1973: Man's impact on the several regions with Mediterranean climates. In: di Castri, F. and Mooney, H.A. (eds) Mediterranean type ecosystems. Origin and Structure. 363–371. Chapman and Hall, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baysal R., 1991: Food and nutrition policies in Turkey. In Ferro-Luzzi A., Cialfa E. and Leclercq C. (eds) Food and nutrition policy in Europe. pp. 131–145. World Health Organization, Rome.

    Google Scholar 

  • Becker K., 1988: Food balance sheets. Food and Agriculture Organization Bulletin of Statistics 1: II–V.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bellamy J., 1954: Some recent trends in trade and utilization of vegetable oils. Yorkshire Bull. Econ. Soc. Res. 6: 65–84.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boardman J., 1976: The olive in the Mediterranean: its culture and use. Philo. Transact. Royal Soc. London B. 275: 187–196.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bonnet P., 1950: The olive industry in France and North Africa. World Crops 2: 205–208.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boulanger P., 1983: Huiles blanches ou paillerines? Essai de physiologie du gôut au XV111ième siècle. In: L'huile d'olive en Mediterranée histoire anthropologie économie de l'antiquité á nos jours, pp. 24–34. Institut de Recherches Mediterranéennes, Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bull W.E., 1936: The olive industry of Spain. Econ. Geogr. 12: 136–154.

    Google Scholar 

  • Charlet M. and Wild M., 1983: L'oléiculture en Provence. In: L'huile d'olive en Mediterranée histoire anthropologie économie de l'antiquité á nos jours, pp. 79–98. Institute de Recherches Mediterranéennes, Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cialfa E., 1991: Food consumption in Italy: present situation and trends. In: Ferro-Luzzi A., Cialfa E. and Leclerq C. (eds), Food and nutrition policy in Mediterranean Europe, pp. 63–81.World Health Organization, Rome.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dennis L., 1983: Le commerce international de l'huile d'olive. In: L'huile d'olive en Mediterranée histoire anthropologie économie de l'antiquité á nos jours, pp. 109–123. Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dolomore A., 1988: The essential olive oil companion. Macmillan, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Economist Intelligence Unit, 1959: Oxford Economic Atlas of the World. Second Edition. Oxford University Press, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • European Community, 1999: The agricultural situation in the European Union. 1998 Report. Brussels.

  • Febvre L., 1938: Répartition geographique des fonds de cuisine. Travaux du Ier Congress International de Folklore, pp. 123–129. Arrault et Cie, Tours.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ferenczi I. and Willcox W.F., 1929: International Migrations, vol. 1. Statistics, National Bureau of Economic Research, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fernandez A.G., Diéz M.J.F. and Adams M.R., 1997: Table olives. Production and Processing. Chapman and Hall, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Flandrin J-L and Hyman P., 1986: Regional tastes and cuisines: problems, documents and discourses on food in Southern France in the 16th and 17th centuries. Food and Foodways 1: 221–251.

    Google Scholar 

  • Food and Agriculture Organization, 2001: Statistical Databases. www.fao.org/

  • Forbes H., 1996: Book review of Frankel R., Avitsur S. and Aylon E. History and technology of olive oil in the Holy Land. Antiquity 70: 475–476.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foxhall L. and Forbes H.A., 1982: Sitometreia: the role of grain as a staple food in classical antiquity. Chiron 12: 41–90.

    Google Scholar 

  • Frankel R., Avitsur S. and Ayalon E., 1994: History and technology of olive oil in the Holy Land. Oléarir Editions, Arlington, Virginia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gade D.W., 2000: South America. In: Kiple K.F. and Ornelas K.C. (eds), The Cambridge World History of Food, vol. 2, pp. 1254–1260. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gerber M., 1994: Olive oil and cancer. In Hill M.J., Giacosa A. and Caygill C.J. (eds), Epidemiology of diet and cancer. pp. 263–275. Ellis Horwood, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Giacosa A., Merlo F., Visconti P., Tixi P., Filberti R., 1991: Mediterranean diet – an attempt at a clear definition. In: Giacosa A. and Hill M.J. (eds), The Mediterranean diet and cancer prevention: proceedings of a workshop organised by the European Cancer Prevention Organization and the Italian League against Cancer. Consenza, Italy, June 28–30, pp. 1–14. Andover, England.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gjonça A. and Bobak M., 1997: Albanian paradox, another example of protective effect ofMediterranean lifestyle. The Lancet 350: 1815–1817.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodchild R., 1950: Roman Tripolitania: reconnaissance in the desert frontier zone. Geogr. J. 115: 161–178.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodchild R., 1952: The decline of Libyan agriculture. Geogr. Mag. 25: 142–156.

    Google Scholar 

  • Graaff J. de, and Eppink L.A.A.J., 1999: Olive oil production and soil conservation in southern Spain, in relation to EEC subsidy policies. Land Use Policy 16: 259–267.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grigg D., 1999: The fat of the land: a geography of oil and fat consumption. GeoJournal 48: 259–268.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grignon C., 1986: Alimentation et régions. Cahiers de Nutrition et de Dietritique 21: 381–389.

    Google Scholar 

  • Halstead P., 1997: Book review J. Hellenic Studies 117: 242–244.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamilakis Y., 1999: Food technologies of the body: the social context of wine and oil production and consumption in Bronze Age Crete. World Archaeol. 31: 38–54.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heathcote R.L., 1983: The arid lands: their use and abuse. Longman, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Helsing E., 1993: Trends in fat consumption in Europe and their influence on the Mediterranean diet. Europ. J. Clin. Nutr. 47(1): S4–S12.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoffman W.G., 1969: 100 years of the margarine industry. In: Stuyvenberg J.H. Van (ed.). Margarine. An Economic, Social and Scientific History, 1869–1969, pp. 9–36. Liverpool University Press, Liverpool.

    Google Scholar 

  • Keys A., 1980: Seven countries: a multivariate analysis of death and coronary heart disease. Harvard University Press, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Köppen V., 1936: Das geographische system der Klimate. In: Köppen V. and Geiger R. (eds), Handbuch der Klimatogie. Gebrüder Borntraeger, Berlin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mizzi L., 1995: Food and nutrition policy in Malta. Food Policy 20: 478–486.

    Google Scholar 

  • Muendel J., 1995: Friction and lubrication in medieval Europe. The emergence of olive oil as a superior agent. Isis 86: 373–393.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nestle M., 2000: The Mediterranean diet and disease prevention. In: Kiple K.F. and Ornelas K.E. (eds), The Cambridge World History of Food, vol. 2, pp. 1193–1202. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nicod J., 1956: Grandeur et décadence de l'oleiculture provencale. Revue Geogr. Alpine 44: 247–295.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sasaki S. and Kesteloot H., 1992: Value of food and agriculture organization data in food balance sheets as a data source for dietary fat intake in epidemiologic studies. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 56: 716–723.

    Google Scholar 

  • Serra-Majem L., Ribas L., Lloveras G., Salleras L., 1993: Changing patterns of fat consumption in Spain. Europ. J. Clin. Nutr. 47(1): S13–S20.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sorre M., 1950: La géographie des matières grasses. Ann. Geogr. 59: 103–108.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stanislawski D., 1963: Portugal's Other Kingdom. The Algarve. University of Texas Press, Austin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Strazzillo P. and Siani A., 1991: Hypertension. In: Spiller G. (ed.), The Mediterranean diets in health and disease, pp. 219–231. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Super J.C. and Vargas L.A., 2000: Mexico and Highland Central America. In: Kiple K.F. and Ornelas K.C. (eds), The Cambridge World History of Food, vol 2, pp. 1248–1253. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Toussaint-Samat M., 1992: A history of food. Blackwell, Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

  • Trichopoulou A., Katsaiyanni K. and Giardelles C., 1993: The traditional Greek diet. Europ. J. Clin. Nutr. 47(Suppl.): 576–581.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zohary D., 1995: Olive. Olea europaea (oleaceae) In: Smartt J. and Simmonds N.W. (eds), Evolution of Crop-Plants, pp. 279–382. Longmans, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zohary D., 1993: Domestication of plants in the Old World. The origin and spread of cultivated plants in West Asia, Europe and the Nile Valley. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Grigg, D. Olive oil, the Mediterranean and the world. GeoJournal 53, 163–172 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015702327546

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015702327546

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diet
  • food consumption
  • Mediterranean
  • nutrition
  • oils and fats
  • olive oil