Olive oil prices have surged over 100% in some countries in recent weeks, hitting record highs and sparking cooking oil thefts in some European countries.
In Spain, where olive oil production is a staple of the economy, prices have soared by as much as 140%. Meanwhile, prices have remained largely stable in Italy, where a weaker Euro has kept prices lower.
In response to the rising prices, the European Union has taken steps to combat rising theft of olive oil. In particular, they have proposed increasing the surveillance of olive oil refineries and factories. Additionally, they are working to strengthen labeling and enforcement so that consumers can be assured of buying legitimate olive oils.
The rising prices are largely due to poor harvests over the last few years, coupled with increased demand for olive oil as a culinary ingredient. Additionally, a cold winter has made it difficult to maintain the production levels required to keep up with demand.
While the olive oil boom may be good news for some producers, it has left consumers paying high prices for the product, and in some cases, facing an increase in thefts.