The runaway cost of Spain’s ‘liquid gold’: Extra virgin olive oil prices rise as much as 75% in just a month

WIDESPREAD drought in Spain this year continues to wreak havoc with the price of olive oil, as poor harvests push the cost of the ‘liquid gold’ up for consumers. 

A new study released this week by Spanish consumer association Facua-Consumers in Action has found that some extra virgin olive oils have had their prices jacked up by as much as 75% in just a month. 

The association carried out a comparative analysis of 345 prices from 70 different brands, including different packaging formats such as plastic or glass containers, tins and sprays. 

The sales points included a range of popular supermarkets, including Mercadona, Dia, Alcampo, Lidl and Carrefour, and the prices were recorded on September 3 and 4, and compared with those on October 3. 

The biggest price rise was found with the five-litre container of extra virgin oil from the Carbonell brand, which saw a spike of 74.8% from one month to the next. In September it cost €36.95, but by October had reached €64.59. 

The second-biggest hike was found with the Picual Fuente Sierra brand of extra virgin olive oil in Alcampo, which went from €23.81 to €39.99 in just four weeks, an increase of 68%. 

And in third place were the one-litre bottles from Carbonnell in Hipercor, which went from €9.32 to €14.50 – a rise of 55.6%.

While the poor olive harvests due to drought are part of the problem behind these price rises, Facua has also denounced possible cases of speculation by distribution chains and other intermediaries when it comes to applying profit margins to these products. 

According to a statement released by the association, it will be calling on the Agriculture, Fishing and Foods Ministry to exert greater control over the production chain and to determine whether such practices that are harmful to the consumer’s finances are taking place.

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