If you love olive oil, then it could be time to stock up. Experts are warning of rocketing prices because of a shortage of olives.
Many people who enjoyed a holiday in Spain over the summer were not complaining, but they might start now when they realise that the searing temperatures they experienced hampered the country’s olive-growing efforts so much that the harvest is expected to be half of what it was last year. This means that because Spain is such a major player in the olive market prices for all types of oil from all countries are likely to soar.
A litre of the popular Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil is currently available at Waitrose for £6.50. But experts say this could rise to around £9.10 if the wholesalers expect consumers to make up the whole cost of the olive shortage.
Mintec is a food-industry analyst firm, and a spokesman said that the problems were down to above-average warm and dry weather which affected the Mediterranean’s olive belt throughout May and June. This hit the trees during their blooming period and added to their stress after they produced a record crop last year.
Italy is also experiencing a boom in the price of olives because it too experienced an extremely hot summer. Who would have thought that people, especially Brits, would start complaining about too much sun? But that might just happen if they need a bank loan just to make a salad dressing.
Walter Zanre, Filippo Berio’s managing director, said price rises were almost inevitable for olive oil as the wholesale costs of the fruit were going up. There is also the worry that some suppliers will hold back some of the crop in order to make the most of bumper prices.
It’s not up there with concern about terrorism and the like, but a good spag bol is important to many people, so there is also a worry that extra virgin olive oil may be particularly badly hit. This is because the fruit is showing higher than average levels of acidity, so stocks may be downgraded and lose their ‘extra virgin’ tag. The coveted title, and the price tags attached, can only be given to oil with an acidity content of below 0.8 per cent. It’s a good job the salad season is nearly over or children across the land may well have been going without their fish fingers just so their mums and dads could have a few pieces of perfectly dressed rocket.