Why Olive Oil Is The Next Product That Could See A Price Increase

While prices continue to soar from high gas prices and supply chain issues, the cost of climate change is also impacting consumers at the grocery check-out line. Add olive oil to the list of sky-rocketing prices, joining the likes of bacon and bread. Similar to Syria's wheat crisis, Spanish and Italian olive crops are suffering from the effects of climate change. The olive-growing regions in both countries are wilting under the severe drought and fiery temperatures blasting Europe this summer, according to The Guardian.

Speaking to Bloomberg News, Spain's Agriculture Minister Luis Planas said, "If there is no temperature relief or rains in the coming weeks, this year's olive harvest could be notably lower than previous ones. The olives sector is concerned about oil production."

Their concern is for a good reason. According to Bloomberg, Spain accounts for nearly 50% of global olive oil production. Coupled with the continued sunflower oil shortage due to the war in Ukraine, the prices of vegetable oils remained poised to continue their upward trajectory. The news outlet reports that the USDA believes olive oil production will be down 11% this year; that's a decline of 2.9 million metric tons.

What's causing olive oil prices to rise

The Guardian also anticipates the price of crops coming out of Northern Italy to skyrocket. That region is suffering from its worst drought in 70 years. Importers are bracing for a 50% increase in the price of olive oil, arborio rice (used for risotto), and tomatoes. Mintec analyst Kyle Holland told the news outlet that some producers project olive oil production in Italy could be down 20 to 30% over last year.

While olive trees are known to be drought tolerant and thrive in warmer climates, the extreme heat and severe water shortages impacting much of the world are too much — even for these hardy trees, explains the Olive Oil Times. The trade publication also points out that California's olive oil producers are also dealing with climate issues and expect their yields to be down this year. This news may not bode well for the wallets of many home cooks who prefer to use olive oil in the kitchen, according to a recent Tasting Table survey.