Spanish olive oil price soars after poor harvest, while Greek oil prices only marginally up

As reported in Ecomonitor this month, the futures price of olive oil has risen 75 per cent in the last 7 months with retail prices expected to follow. This is as a direct result of the exceptionally poor olive harvest in Spain last year where late frosts and summer droughts reduced olive yields by 44 per cent on 2011.

Spain has dominated the world market of olive oil for some time. Concentrating on large production quantities, machine-harvested olives, and aggressive marketing, supermarket shelves are full of Spanish olive oil - soon to be expensive Spanish olive oil.

Health-conscious Americans, introducing more of the Mediterranean diet into their lives, have boosted imports of olive oil to the US by 9 per cent in 2011/12 (International Olive Council). With Spanish oil prices already rising and set to rise further, consumers who want to retain the proven health benefits of this liquid gold, should look to Greece.

In Greek mythology, the goddess Athena gave the olive tree to the Greeks to win their loyalty. The Greek climate is more consistent and production more traditional and artisanal than many of the top-producing countries. At least 70 per cent of all Greek olive oil is of the finest 'extra virgin' quality. This means the oil is produced from the first pressing, with guaranteed absence of any chemical additives or water. The result has low acidity and a mellow, fruity flavor. 

Greek olive oil is made from Greek olives – not blended with olives from who knows where. The high price of Spanish oil might just make 2013 the year when more wised-up olive oil aficionados explore Greece's range of authentic products that combine quality with price. What's not to like?

photo by Katrina.Tuliao

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