Olive oil turns into luxury in Greece due to surging prices


(MENAFN) Olive oil, a fundamental ingredient in Greek cuisine and Mediterranean diets, has transformed into a luxury for many in Greece due to surging prices.

The Greek Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) reveals that between January 2021 and September 2023, olive oil prices witnessed an almost 70 percent increase, ranking as the third-highest spike in the EU, following Spain’s 138 percent and Portugal’s 90 percent during the same period.

This poses a challenging situation for those who associate their meals with the unique aroma and health benefits of olive oil, and the price surge is closely linked to poor olive harvests in major EU producers.

The European Commission's short-term agricultural outlook report predicts that the nine EU members cultivating olives will yield approximately 1.5 million metric tons (over 1.6 million US tons) of olive oil in the 2023/24 growing season. While this forecast is 9 percent higher than the previous season's record low of 1.384 million tons, it still falls significantly below the average production volume of 2.13 million tons between the 2017/2018 and 2021/2022 growing years.

In Greece, where olive growers grappled with a hot and dry spring and extreme summer heatwaves, olive oil production for 2023/2024 is anticipated to be 160,000 tons, a considerable drop from the previous season's 350,000 tons, according to the country’s olive oil industry association, EDOE.

The per-liter price of extra virgin olive oil, reaching €14 (USD15.25) in Greek supermarkets, is expected to remain elevated as alternatives such as sunflower oil, mixed vegetable oils, and lower-quality riviera olive oil with significantly higher acidity become more prevalent on store shelves and in kitchens.

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