Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sales in Spain Fell by 40 Percent in 2023

The soaring retail price for extra virgin olive oil has driven the vital ingredient out of the reach of many families.
By Simon Roots
Jan. 2, 2024 14:37 UTC

Inflation, dri­ven pri­mar­ily by increased man­u­fac­tur­ing costs and poor har­vests, has sig­nif­i­cantly impacted the cost of liv­ing and the spend­ing behav­ior of Spanish res­i­dents.

Despite con­sumers being in sav­ings mode, actively com­par­ing prices and seek­ing pro­mo­tions, the aver­age annual house­hold shop­ping bas­ket has surged by €800 over the past year, accord­ing to Nielsen IQ’s study.

The olive oil sec­tor, espe­cially extra vir­gin olive oil, has wit­nessed sub­stan­tial price hikes, with increases of 79 per­cent, 69 per­cent and 60 per­cent for extra vir­gin, vir­gin and non-vir­gin olive oil, respec­tively.

See Also:Soaring Expenses Strain Producers in Southern Europe

Consequently, demand for these oils dropped sig­nif­i­cantly: 41 per­cent for extra vir­gin olive oil, 14 per­cent for olive oil and 11 per­cent for vir­gin olive oil. These fig­ures are esti­mated to con­sti­tute the most sig­nif­i­cant sus­tained drop in demand since the tur­moil of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.

Sales shifted to alter­na­tives such as sun­flower oil, which expe­ri­enced a 16 per­cent demand increase, cou­pled with a 36 per­cent price decrease com­pared to November 2022.

However, olive pomace oil demand soared by 70 per­cent despite an 18 per­cent price hike, sug­gest­ing a strong reluc­tance to aban­don such an iconic fam­ily of oils alto­gether.

In November 2023, Spanish con­sumer goods sales rose by eight per­cent, and aver­age prices increased by six per­cent, mark­ing the low­est vari­a­tions of the year, as per Nielsen IQ data.

Despite over­all pos­i­tive growth of slightly more than one per­cent, the three main sec­tors saw a slow­down in sales growth, with food lead­ing in expen­di­ture, expe­ri­enc­ing an eight per­cent increase in sales, slightly lower than the pre­vi­ous dou­ble-digit growth.

This was accom­pa­nied by a seven per­cent rise in aver­age prices and a mar­ginal one per­cent increase in vol­ume sales.

Javier Ferrer, res­i­dent of Valencia, said that his elderly mother finds the increased food cost par­tic­u­larly hard to bear.

I worry for her health,” he said, She sur­vived the Covid-19 [pan­demic], but she’s old and not very strong. Now her diet is poorer because every­thing is so expen­sive, and I can’t help much because I’m also now almost pen­ni­less.”

Such con­cerns were already wide­spread. In a major 2022 study, Save the Children warned that diet qual­ity in Spain was expe­ri­enc­ing an unprece­dented decline due in part to the com­plex effects of the Covid-19 pan­demic but pri­mar­ily because of socioe­co­nomic fac­tors, which have been exac­er­bated by the ram­pant infla­tion in 2022 and 2023.

Certain sec­tors that usu­ally see sharp increases in sales in the lead-up to the Christmas period, such as drug­stores, per­fumeries and bev­er­ages, reported only mod­er­ate sales value of seven per­cent each.

Demand data showed sim­i­lar pat­terns in these cat­e­gories, with a one per­cent increase in vol­ume sales for bev­er­ages, drug­store prod­ucts and per­fumery, with aver­age prices increas­ing by about six per­cent each.

Among the goods most affected by infla­tion in November, drug­store prod­ucts topped the list with a 23 per­cent increase, fol­lowed by oil at 23 per­cent, baby foods at 20 per­cent and olives and pick­les at 15 per­cent.

Products includ­ing grated cheese expe­ri­enced an eight per­cent price drop, fol­lowed by wash­ing acces­sories at seven per­cent and kitchen and toi­let paper at six per­cent.

Private brands grew by almost 11 per­cent in value by the end of November, sur­pass­ing the five per­cent increase for white-label brands. Volume sales increased by five per­cent for pri­vate brands but decreased by three per­cent for white-label brands.

Overall, the com­plex inter­play of ris­ing prices, chang­ing con­sumer pref­er­ences and eco­nomic chal­lenges paints a nuanced pic­ture of the Spanish con­sumer goods mar­ket dur­ing the final weeks of the year.


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