June 20th, 2024 | 9:47


Bilbao short of extra virgin olive oil in some supermarkets

The rising price of oil drives an increase in the cost of the basic basket in the Basque Country

Jesus Carames

May 16, 2024 | 3:19 p.m.

The price of extra virgin olive oil continues to rise, making it a luxury item in supermarkets. The price spike has led to extreme security measures to protect the precious “liquid gold.”

A product monitored as a luxury item

You only have to walk through the shelves of large stores and supermarkets to realize that extra virgin olive oil has reached exorbitant prices. This price increase has forced establishments to implement security measures comparable to those used for great wines, high-alcohol drinks and branded clothing.

In many places, the oil is under video surveillance by security cameras, secured with alarms or even stored behind the counter, forcing customers to request it at the checkout line. These measures are a clear indication of how the perception and management of this essential product in the Mediterranean diet has changed.

Comparisons with other luxury products

The situation is so critical that Kepa Loizaga, delegate in Euskadi of the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), has indicated that they may soon have to put the oil bottles in methacrylate boxes, as is done with some alcoholic beverages. high price. "We are going to have to put the bottles in methacrylate boxes, like drinks," says Loizaga.

These types of protections are not common for food products, but the rising value of extra virgin olive oil has forced retailers to treat it with the same level of caution as luxury items.

Causes of price increase

The increase in the price of olive oil is due to a series of factors. These include poor harvests due to adverse weather conditions, such as drought, and high production costs. These factors have limited the supply of olive oil on the market, which, combined with constant or increasing demand, has led to a significant increase in prices.

In addition, the global economic situation and inflation also play an important role in the increase in the price of this product. The COVID-19 pandemic has had disruptive effects on supply chains, increasing logistics and transportation costs.

Impact on consumers

The increase in the price of extra virgin olive oil has a direct impact on consumers, especially those who consider this product a basic element of their diet. Olive oil, known for its health benefits, is increasingly out of reach for many families, who are forced to look for cheaper alternatives or reduce their consumption.

This situation creates a paradox: an essential product for a healthy diet becomes an inaccessible luxury for many. Consumers, who previously purchased extra virgin olive oil regularly, must now weigh their purchase as a significant expense.

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