Rising Olive Oil Prices In Europe May Catch Up With Us Eventually

Image courtesy of rschnaible

Olive oil is a kitchen staple, used for everything from cooking up veggies to delicately dipping pieces of bread. It’s also becoming a more expensive staple due to weather in olive-growing countries Spain, Italy, and Greece. Hot weather, fruit flies, and flooding across those regions mean a much smaller harvest.

The good news for chefs and for home chefs in this country is that a strong dollar and soaring prices in Europe haven’t affected American consumers all that much yet. According to Bloomberg News, if you go on vacation to London, you’ll find restaurants that have increased their prices and chefs forced to go without their favorite olive oil brands.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver even blames the olive oil price hike in part for leading him to close six restaurants in his chain, Jamie’s Italian. Higher prices for good quality ingredients overall were really to blame, though, and the plummeting value of the pound after Britain voted to leave the European Union. That decreased buying power for imported products has made higher olive oil prices even higher in Britain.

While Americans do produce about half of our own olive oil, we import around half of what we use from Italy and Greece. With about half of the Italian harvest wrecked by fruit flies and bacteria this year, the shortages may catch up with us and affect prices on the shelf. If you have a bottle of the good stuff, guard it carefully.