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.
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.