China's appetite for olive oil increased amidst a shrinking cooking oil market, according to a UK-based market research report sent to Xinhua on Friday.
The sales of olive oil during a 52 week ending Aug. 8, 2014 were 5.35 percent percent higher than the previous year, the Kantar Worldpanel's monitoring released.
Sales were up 27.17 percent from two years ago, it said.
In contrast, the overall cooking oil market, which includes all cooking oil products no more than 5 liters, shrank by 4.35 percent between 2014 and 2013. When compared between 2014 and 2012, it inched up only 0.4 percent, the report said.
The report said the rising health consciousness among Chinese consumers has led to this growth trend, even though the cost of olive oil is much higher than conventional oil.
Olive oil's average price is 98 yuan (16.1 U.S. dollars) per litre, compared to the average price of 17 yuan per litre for the whole cooking oil market, said the report.
Given its penetration rate of 15 percent, olive oil recruited 695,140 more urban families within the year, according to the report.
The report estimated that China's market potential for olive oil would be great as Shanghai-based Bright Food Group (600597.SH) has bought a majority stake in Italian olive oil producer Salov Group in early October, boosting Tuscany-headquartered Salov's production and sales after the acquisition to help it grow outside its home market.