Virgin extra olive oil 69 percent more expensive on average in 2023 in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil has increased in price in Spanish supermarkets by an average of 69.3% in 2023. This is one of the conclusions of an investigation by consumer rights organisation FACUA into 18 brands sold in Mercadona, Dia, Hipercor, Alcampo, Eroski and Carrefour.

FACUA’s analysis shows that, contrary to what manufacturers and supermarket chains claim, the price increases are not only the result of higher prices at source. In the past year, price increases at the point of sale were up to €2.54/litre higher than at source.

FACUA compared the prices of oil on January 3, 2023 with those on January 2, 2024. The organisation has looked at extra virgin olive oil in the following different sizes of plastic packages;

  • 1 litre
  • 3 litres
  • 5 litres
  • 500 millilitres
  • 750 millilitres
  • 200 milliltres in spray

Increase at various supermarkets

Among supermarkets, the largest price increase of extra virgin olive oil was observed at Carrefour. The 12 products analysed became on average no less than 75.8% more expensive. This is followed by Alcampo with an increase of 73.9% for the 15 oils included in this analysis. At Eroski, the average increase was 71.3% among a sample of seven products. At Hipercor, the increase in the last year was 69.2% for a selection of 12 extra virgin oils. And at Dia this was 68.2% for a sample of 11 products. Meanwhile, at Mercadona, the average increase was 57.3% for the four products examined in this study.

Increases of up to 154% in one year

If we look at the extra virgin olive oils included in this study, the price per litre of extra virgin olive oil from the Coosur Hojiblanca (Eroski) brand has increased the most. Oil has become as much as 154.8% more expensive. Moreover, prices have risen from €5.69 in January 2023 to €14.50 in January 2024. That is €8.81 per litre.

The second-highest increase was recorded for the five-litre bottle of extra virgin olive oil from Carbonell, sold by Alcampo. This has gone from €25.72 to €60.68 in one year (136% more expensive). Thant´s an increase of seven euros per litre.

In third place is the 114.2% price increase for a litre of extra virgin olive oil from Coosur Hojiblanca, also on sale in Alcampo. At the beginning of 2023, the oil was being sold for €5.70 euros, while it now costs €12.21. That is €6.51 more expensive per litre.

The study looked at 18 different brands: Hacendado, Casa Juncal, Coosur, La Española, Dcoop, Hojiblanca, Carbonell, Oro de Genave, Jaencoop, Almazara del Olivar, Oleoestepa, El Corte Inglés, Alcampo, Maestros de Hojiblanca, Koipe, Eroski, Ybarra, Carrefour.

Possible illegal increase in profit margin

FACUA is again asking the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to investigate the illegal increases in profit margins that are believed to be taking place in olive oil and in many other foods subject to the VAT reduction. The law that establishes this measure, which has been extended until mid-2024, prohibits increasing margins.

Price in supermarkets v price at source

FACUA’s analysis shows that extra virgin olive oil rose to €2.54 per litre before tax in 2023. The average price per litre of extra virgin olive oil in the supermarkets surveyed increased from €6.91 in the first month of 2023 to €12 in January 2024.

The average litre price at source increased from €4.91 in the first week of January 2023 to €7.45 in the week of 10 to 17 December 2023 (excluding VAT), according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – the most recent data published so far.

Taking these figures into account, the average price increase of extra virgin olive oil in 1-litre plastic bottles has been 73.6% over the past year (69.3% if all formats are included), while the increase at source has been 51.7%. This means that the price increase of this product in supermarkets in 2023 is up to 22% higher than that of the farmer at the source.

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