Prices of olive oil in the UK have rocketed, with fears the country could run out of supplies by autumn thanks to last year’s drought in southern Europe that ruined the olive season.
Between December 2021 and last month, the price of the average bottle of olive oil increased by 11.9 per cent, with the cost of Britain’s bestselling bottle of olive oil, doubling to more than £11.
Temperatures in the Spanish province of Andalucía soared to more than 100F (40C) last spring, causing havoc during the early growing season in the region, known for producing more olive oil annually than the whole of Italy.
In 2019, the online supermarket Ocado charged £6 for a litre of Filippo Berio’s Classico olive oil but now it charges £11.05, the Times reports.
According to the grocery price index, recorded on Trolley, the average price of olive oil products in the UK has increased from £6.62 in December 2021 to £7.41 in December 2022.
The British supermarket which saw the largest jump in olive oil prices, was Iceland who saw its products increase in price by 37 per cent, or £1.70.
The Co-op saw an increase of 22 per cent, by £0.95, closely followed by Morrisons which saw a 19.8 per cent increase of £0.90.
Temperatures in the Spanish province of Andalucía soared to more than 100F (40C) last spring, causing havoc during the early growing season. Pictured: A field of olive trees in Jaen, Spain, in November following a severe drought in the region.
Waitrose supermarkets saw the least increase in price over the last year, increasing by £0.55 or 6.2 per cent.
Managing director of the UK’s biggest olive oil brand Filippo Berio UK, Walter Zanre told the Times it was ‘a disaster’, raising concerns that the country could run out of olive oil by the autumn.
He added: ‘We have had to increase prices by 30 per cent and prices are likely to rise further.’
Between December 2021 and last month, the price of the average bottle of olive oil increased in price by 11.9 per cent, with the cost of Britain’s bestselling bottle of olive oil, doubling to more than £11
The price of Filippo Berio’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil now will set shoppers back by £10 if they choose to shop at Waitrose compared with £8 at Tesco.
The olive oil company estimates around 60 per cent of oil used in the UK is produced by Spain, with this quantity set to halve to 700,000 tonnes in 2023.
Gary Lewis from the UK’s second-largest olive oil supplier, KTC, told the Times: ‘Olive oil will become more of a niche product.
‘Rising prices mean consumers have started to move away from it and into sunflower oil already.’
An olive tree farm with dried olive branches in Tuscany during July as the country suffered from a heatwave and drought
It comes after the Royal Horticultural Society said potted olive trees will be banned from being brought to the UK, to stop a deadly disease spreading across the country.
The bacterial disease Xylella fastidiosa already ravaged olive groves in Italy, Spain and Greece but threatens oak and cherry trees as well.
Over the next 50 years, there is concerns the disease could create a ‘huge economic toll’ in the three countries, that produce 95 per cent of Europe’s olive oil.
Olive oil is the latest grocery item to see prices rise, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.
According to the British Retail Consortium, grocery bills rose by 13.3 per cent in 2021, following high inflation rates.
Low fat milk, pasta and couscous and margarine all saw the largest prices rises in the 12 months to November according to ONS.
With wine, root vegetables, spirits and dried fruits seeing taking the smallest hit.
According to the British Retail Consortium, grocery bills rose by 13.3 per cent in 2021, following high inflation rates
In the last few months, supermarkets have been quietly raising the prices of ready meals and convenience foods by as much as 50 per cent within the last year.
Products with the most significant price hikes saw increases of between 13.4 and 50 per cents from December 2021 to December 2022.
Skyrocketing food prices come many shoppers are facing the prospect of a tighter squeeze in 2023, with higher taxes and mortgage rates, scaled-back government support on household energy bills and UK inflation running at 10.7 per cent.
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