Salad dressings are getting ever more expensive. Consumer prices for olive oil have climbed by an average of 10% worldwide this year due to drought and disease in southern Europe. In Spain and Italy, which jointly account for 70% of the world’s olive oil, production has fallen by around 50% owing to unusually hot weather and a bacterial disease known as “olive ebola”. In two southern Italian provinces where the disease is rampant, officials have declared a “state of calamity”. The bug has now reached olive groves in Corsica.
Meanwhile, demand remains buoyant, with retailers and distributors keen to buy 12% more olive oil than exporters were able to deliver last month, says Sarah Butler in The Guardian. Stockpiles in Spain are now at “critically low levels”, according to industry researcher Oil World. Prices have jumped to near-record highs, with the main benchmark, Spanish oil, at over $4,200 a tonne, a level not seen since 2006.