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UK olive oil prices could rise by 50%

11 March 2013

With Spain, Europe's leading producer, reporting one of its worst olive oil harvests in years and wholesale prices up by 50%, the UK consumer looks set to experience a major increase in both branded and own label olive oil prices.

As a result of a drought in Spain during the key 2012 growing season, the county's 2013 crop forecast of 700,000 tonnes is more than 60% down on the previous year's figure.

Other olive oil producing countries, including Italy, Greece Turkey and Tunisia, have had their own drought problems and will not be able to make up the shortfall from Spain which represents 60% of Mediterranean production.

Such shortages and wholesale prices increases are too great to be consolidated by the olive oil brands and own label suppliers so price increases are clearly imminent.

The key question will be if these will match the up to 50% increases paid for wholesale olive oil.

Walter Zanré, managing director of olive oil brand Filippo Berio UK, said: "Although we don't control the retail prices paid by the consumer, the drought in Spain will certainly have an impact on the prices paid by consumers in the UK and throughout Europe. In the short term there will certainly be price increases for both branded and own label olive oils. Olive oil is a natural product so, just like this year's experience in the wine trade, we are at the mercy of supply variations and price increases as a result of the weather.”


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