The price of olive oil soared in August by 52.5% compared to the same month of the previous year, its highest year-on-year increase in 21 years, and increased by 8.7% compared to the month of July according to published CPI statistics. by the National Institute of Statistics.
In the same way, the Organization of Consumers and Users Facua has reported that extra virgin olive oil of Spanish origin is more expensive than in neighboring countries, reaching 27% more in the case of Portugal.
From March 2021 to August of this year, the price of olive oil has increased by 114.8%, that is, more than double. ‘Liquid gold’ has accumulated 28 consecutive months of year-on-year increases until August, with double-digit growth in the last 27 months.
The price of olive oil began its current upward path in April 2021, when a year-on-year increase of 2% was recorded, which expanded to 5% in May.
In monthly values, its price has risen in seven of the last eight months. The latest data, from August, reflects that olive oil cost Spanish households 8.7% more than in July.
Facua calls for an investigation
Facua has asked the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to carry out greater control of the production chain of virgin and extra virgin olive oil and investigate whether there is “speculation” by large distribution chains or other intermediaries. when applying profit margins to these products.
Specifically, it has demanded that the Government “thoroughly” investigate the price escalation that is occurring in the sector and apply “caps” to profit margins in all phases of the chain, since Facua has detailed that the increases “They are not only a consequence of poor olive harvests, but also of speculation.”
Likewise, the association has taken the opportunity to remember that the Royal Decree-Law that approved the reduction of VAT from 10% to 5% “prohibits since January any increase that is not a consequence of increases in costs, which would therefore represent a practice sanctionable.
Facua has recalled that “the Government can set maximum prices or limit marketing margins as permitted by the trade law.”
Difference between supermarkets
As detailed by the organization, the same brand of extra virgin olive oil costs up to 45% more depending on the supermarket chain where it is purchased, “a difference that in euros represents no less than four per liter.”
Along these lines, the price differences between the different brands and establishments analyzed by Facua have reached 5.31 euros per liter (68.1%) in the case of a one-liter bottle of extra virgin olive oil. .
Of those analyzed by Facua, the most expensive is the liter of extra virgin in plastic containers brand ‘Maestros de Hojiblanca’, for sale in Carrefour at 13.10 euros, while the cheapest is from the firm ‘Mar de Olivos ‘, at 7.79 euros in Alcampo.
In cans, all the oils analyzed by Facua are extra virgin, with an average price for the 5-liter format of 46.36 euros. Specifically, the most expensive brand is ‘Parqueoliva DOP Priego de Córdoba’, at 56.22 euros at Hipercor, while the cheapest is ‘De Nuestra Tierra’, which is sold at Carrefour at 40.95 euros.
Furthermore, Facua has highlighted that the greatest price difference between the same brand depending on the establishment where it is sold is found in the one-liter bottle of Carbonell extra virgin picual variety, since the price ranges from 8.86 euros in Alcampo to 12.85 euros at Carrefour, which represents a difference of 45% (3.99 euros per liter).
Calviño does not know “speculation”
The first vice president of the Government and acting Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, stated on Thursday that “she is not aware” that the distribution “is speculating” on the price of olive oil, although she has taken the opportunity to appeal “to the responsibility of the entire value chain” in order to help families in the face of high prices.
Calviño pointed out that, if there was any type of speculation with the price, the Government would have to take measures, but he has insisted that the available information does not point in that direction.
“We are not aware (…) We have launched an observatory and we have also instructed the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) to be very vigilant with these issues,” said the acting first vice president.
Calviño has attributed the current prices of olive oil to years of poor harvests and drought, a situation that, he said, “directly affects the availability of oil on supermarket shelves.”
The acting Minister of Economic Affairs has stated that the Government is “closely aware” of how the market is evolving because it knows that this is a “very important” issue for families and because the rise in prices has been “very rapid.”
Calviño has stressed that, according to the CNMC’s analysis, the VAT reduction is “serving” to try to alleviate this impact, since it is being “directly transferred” to the price.
“The rains that are falling, of course not the DANAS or the catastrophic situations, are coming at a good time for there to be a better than expected harvest for the coming months and for next year,” he noted.
Regarding why in other countries the price of olive oil is cheaper than in Spain, a country that is a superproducer of the so-called ‘liquid gold’, it has to do with the management of stocks.
«There are a series of continuity stocks, which are guaranteeing that there is supply despite the significant drop in harvests (…) This issue of stock management is what explains why there may be different prices in different establishments, in Spain and outside Spain,” he explained.