01 Oct

Britain gets a taste for the exotic as olive sales soar

Olive sales have surged as shoppers splash out more on speciality foods.

Consumer spending on olives has risen 20 per cent over the past year, according to new research. Sales hit £42 million in the 12 months to June, with green olives taking the biggest share.

Spending on olives accounted for the greatest portion of all products in the “speciality and fine foods” grocery sector, which includes continental cheeses and continental sliced meat.

Shoppers are buying olives more often and spending more per purchase, according to the TNS Worldpanel survey of 25,000 British households.

The total speciality foods sector increased in value by 7 per cent over the past year to £405 million.

Continental cheeses such as feta, mozzarella and parmesan made up the biggest slice of the sector at £232 million, according to statistics produced for the Grocer magazine.

The trade magazine says the boundary between speciality and mainstream food products is becoming “blurred”, adding: “It’s the supermarkets that have been introducing more speciality foods to a broader spectrum of people, with speciality ranges in store to keep pace with consumer demands for more unusual ingredients.”

The continental sliced cooked meat market increased 15 per cent over the past year, to £131 million.

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