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Olive oil prices in Spain have risen in first quarter of 2024 but there are signs of them stabilising
Retail

Olive oil prices in Spain have risen in first quarter of 2024 but there are signs of them stabilising

A national consumer association analysis has confirmed increases ranging from 7% to 23%, but predicts that prices could drop - thanks to the latest rains

Raquel Merino

Malaga

Friday, 12 April 2024, 17:21

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First it was Spain's non-government organisation for consumer action (Facua-Consumidores en Acción) that warned in a recent study of price hike for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in just one year - a year-on-year increase of 72.8% from February 2023 to February 2024. Now the organisation of consumers and users association (OCU) is also flagging up the increasing price trend for this product, which has continued to rise in the first quarter of this year. In the past three years EVOO has experienced a 225% increase in price (from December 2020 to December 2023).

However, the OCU opens the door to hope by predicting that the price of olive oil may remain stable during springtime and may even fall in the summer due to a possible improvement in olive output as a result of the latest rains.

Supermarket chains

What does seem clear is that, in the first quarter of 2024, olive oil has continued its upward trend. This is confirmed by the analysis carried out by the OCU, in which it has taken as its reference point three products from its 'Price Observatory' (their prices watch-list), all in 1-litre PET plastic bottles: one EVOO from an own-label, manufacturer's brand widely sold in supermarkets; the second EVOO from a distributor's brand (unspecified manufacturer(s)), and a third bottle of mild olive oil from a distributor's brand. Price tracking of all three has been followed closely across the following supermarket chains: Alcampo, Carrefour, Condis, Día, El Corte Inglés, Eroski and Mercadona.

The results of the analysis show that all three rose in price from the end of December to the beginning of April by between 7% and 23%, depending on the type of oil. The largest increases were seen in extra virgin olive oil under a manufacturer's brand.

For an EVOO with a non-specific label the average increase has been 7% to date for 2024 with the average price for this product in supermarkets rising from 9.20 to 9.84 euros (OCU data).

The average price of a branded EVOO (known producer) has risen by 23% on average from 12.67 to 15.33 euros.

The mild olive oil with no brand label, on the other hand, has risen by 21% in the first quarter of 2024, with the average price per litre going from 7.60 to 9.21 euros. The OCU observed that the largest price hikes for this product occurred at El Corte Inglés, Carrefour and Alcampo.

Stabilisation trend

The OCU has noted that, while in December olive oil prices varied considerably depending on the supermarket (perhaps due to one-off offers or perhaps because they had not fully passed on the price increase to customers), now in April the disparity between chains is much smaller, even in the case of manufacturer-branded label EVOO.

This leads the consumer organisation to believe that this reduction in price differences between chains can be viewed as a factor in prices starting to stabilise.

It is only in the case of branded oils that substantial differences can still be found, while in the case of other labels, supermarket chains are setting very similar prices between them, as the OCU pointed out, so EVOO is not to blame for any chain losing customers.

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