We hate to say it, but your next grocery run is about to get a little more pricey.
The price of olive oil produced in Spain is hitting an all-time high due to extreme droughts, according to CNBC. Recent data from the International Monetary Fund records olive oil prices at a whopping $5,989.80 per metric ton. It’s the highest recorded price in the past 26 years, as olive producers in Spain are struggling through an exceptionally difficult harvest.
Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil, according to the Associated Press. This year, the west European country produced some 630,000 metric tons of olive oil, a sharp decrease of the typical 1.4 to 1.5 million metric tons produced each year.
“The issues contributing to prices trending at near all-time highs are largely poor weather and a severely dry growing period for much of the Mediterranean, but most importantly in Spain, which is a major producer and exporter of olive oil,” as Mintec pricing analyst Kyle Holland tells CNBC.
Olive trees thrive in warm and dry environments with mild temperatures. But the spring weather has been incredibly dry, hitting at only 36 percent of the typical monthly rainfall during March. Recent severe droughts across Europe — particularly in Spain and Portugal — have devastated local crops and agricultural communities.
Holland says changes in demand spurred by the war in Ukraine and an economic recovery from COVID are also contributing to exceptionally high prices. Producers are reporting overwhelming demand for the oil with very little relative supply, while some consumers are already responding by seeking other cooking oils — like vegetable or canola — to avoid steeply rising prices.