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Fears of soaring olive oil price
18 July 2010 @ 18:22

The price of olive oil could soar because Greek producers are stockpiling their product due to fears about the state of the country's economy, importers have warned.

Filippo Berio, the UK's biggest olive oil brand, said prices were already 20% higher than they were a year ago due to factors such as growing demand worldwide, and warned that Greek producers' reticence to sell their oil could make the situation worse, The Grocer reported.

The company's managing director, Walter Zanre, told the trade magazine: "Greek growers consider stocks of olive oil in tanks to be a safer bet than cash in a Greek bank.

"Greece is a source of high quality extra virgin and this is putting additional pressure on prices. At some point the oil will have to be sold, but in the short term it could cause a spike in prices."

Greece is the third largest producer of olive oil, behind Spain and Italy.

There are concerns that Spanish producers will adopt a similar strategy as a result of the downgrading of Spain's credit rating and increasing uncertainty over public deficit and the economy.

A spokeswoman for RH Amar, distributors of Bertolli, owned by the Spanish food firm Grupo SOS, told the magazine: "The economic climate in Spain is unstable and if the growers decide they can afford to use their oil as cash in the bank, prices are likely to spike as a result."

The high price of olive oil is in sharp contrast with other edible oils. The price of vegetable and seed oils has fallen significantly this year, following massive hikes last year.

Source: The Press Association

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