Olive Oil Prices Soar in Greece

The shortage of olive oil stocks in Europe and domestic inflation are pushing prices to new heights.
By Costas Vasilopoulos
Aug. 24, 2023 13:59 UTC

Prices of food prod­ucts have sky­rock­eted by 30 per­cent in Greece in the last two years, with mar­ket ana­lysts warn­ing of another wave of price increases expected to hit con­sumers this September.

Olive oil has also been caught in a spi­ral of ris­ing prices: last November, at the begin­ning of the 2022/23 crop year, prices at ori­gin in Greece ranged between €3.70 and €3.80 per kilo­gram of extra vir­gin olive oil, ris­ing to €4.50 in January 2023 and reach­ing, or even exceed­ing in some cases, a whop­ping €8.00 per kilo­gram this sum­mer.

Producers will be gen­er­ally sat­is­fied by the increased prices… Consumers, on the other hand, may be put off and limit their sup­ply of olive oil or turn to cheaper veg­etable oils.- Yiorgos Economou, gen­eral direc­tor, Sevitel

According to Manolis Yiannoulis, head of EDOE, the national inter­pro­fes­sional olive oil asso­ci­a­tion, the short­age of olive oil stocks is dri­ving the price rises.

This year we are fac­ing what we call a per­fect storm,’” Yiannoulis said, com­ment­ing on Spain’s record-low pro­duc­tion of olive oil and the reduced yield in other sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­ing coun­tries such as Portugal and Tunisia.

See Also:Citing Rising Prices and Low Margins, Turkey Bans Bulk Olive Oil Exports

The prob­lem the inter­na­tional olive oil indus­try has is not the prices [of olive oil], but the suf­fi­ciency of the prod­uct,” he added. What we see is a mar­ket that is strug­gling to meet its needs. Everyone is com­pet­ing to buy [olive oil] to make up for the scarcity that is there; we can see it.”

While food price infla­tion in Greece is among the high­est in Europe, climb­ing to 13 per­cent in July, so-called greed­fla­tion – infla­tion caused by the cor­po­rate desire for larger prof­its – has also been high­lighted as a fac­tor in push­ing food prices even higher.

According to a report by the Greek Parliamentary Bureau of Budget, ris­ing cor­po­rate prof­its have accounted for 45 per­cent of the infla­tion in Greece since the start of 2022.

Yiorgos Economou, the gen­eral direc­tor of Sevitel, the asso­ci­a­tion of Greek olive oil bot­tlers, said that olive oil prices reached their high­est level in the last 26 years this sum­mer, favor­ing pro­duc­ers and puz­zling con­sumers.

Producers will be gen­er­ally sat­is­fied by the increased prices since they may be able to com­pen­sate for any losses they might have suf­fered in pre­vi­ous crop years,” Economou said. Consumers, on the other hand, may be put off and limit their sup­ply of olive oil or turn to cheaper veg­etable oils.”

In super­mar­kets and gro­cery stores, con­sumers can expect to pay from €8.00 to €13.00 for a liter (equal to 0.91 kilo­grams) of extra vir­gin olive oil. Overall, the retail price of olive oil in Greece has risen by 51 per­cent in the last two years.

On the other hand, olive oil con­sump­tion in the coun­try has dropped by 30 per­cent since last year.

Consumers in Greece who own olive groves for self-pro­duc­tion are spared from pay­ing a pre­mium to secure the fam­ily olive oil.

On the other hand, those who are accus­tomed to pur­chas­ing the year’s sup­ply of olive oil in bulk from fam­ily and friends in the pop­u­lar 17-liter tin con­tain­ers are also faced with a steep rise in prices, with a con­tainer sell­ing for €110 to €120 com­pared to only €70 to €80 a cou­ple of years ago.

In their case, the unprece­dented price hike could limit the amount of bulk olive oil traded in Greece in the 17-liter tins since con­sumers may opt to buy bot­tled olive oil from super­mar­kets on a weekly basis to con­trol their spend­ing bet­ter.

The pro­jected rel­a­tively low pro­duc­tion of olive oil in Greece in the next 2023/24 crop year, com­bined with the infla­tion­ary ten­dency, is expected to main­tain the high olive oil prices in the coun­try in the com­ing months.


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