`With Rising Olive Oil Prices, Concerns of Falling Consumption - Olive Oil Times

Angesichts steigender Olivenölpreise, Bedenken wegen sinkenden Verbrauchs

Oktober 8, 2012
Julia Butler

Aktuelle News

The retail prices of pop­u­lar Spanish olive oil brands Carbonell and Koipe have shot up this month by as much as one euro ($-) in some cases, as con­sumers start to feel the effects of the recent hike in whole­sale prices.

Food giant Deoleo — which could soon become the world’s top olive oil pro­ducer if a rumored merger with Hojiblanca goes ahead — appears to be the first to pass on the rise and anx­ious eyes are now on con­sumers to see how they react.

Prices up by more than a third

The cost of a one liter bot­tle of Deoleo’s Carbonell brand refined olive oil is now nearly €- in var­i­ous stores in Barcelona. At the El Corte Inglés super­mar­ket it sells for €- — up more than a third on its €- price at the end of last month — and, iron­i­cally, more than the higher qual­ity Carbonell vir­gin olive oil, still at €-.

Koipe refined olive oil — also from the Deoleo sta­ble — is up one euro to €-. A liter of pop­u­lar sun­flower oil Koipesol, mean­while, is less than €-.

Other brands to fol­low

The rises are not yet bit­ing in all stores, all brands or in all olive oil grades, but the flow-on is con­sid­ered inevitable and immi­nent.

In May, pro­ducer prices in Spain were at their low­est since -, with EVOO down to €-/kg. But with harsh weather expected to halve olive oil out­put this har­vest, they have risen strongly since July and today’s EVOO bulk price from Spain’s pric­ing infor­ma­tion sys­tem POOLred is the equiv­a­lent of nearly €-/kg.

Concerns Spanish olive oil con­sump­tion will fall

Many Spaniards asso­ciate Carbonell with the slo­gan "en casa de toda la vida” (“we’ve always used it at home”). But as Spanish olive oil proDucer Rafael Muela erzählte Olive Oil Times, the issue now is just how loyal con­sumers will be.

Muela, co-owner and senior mar­ket­ing vice-pres­i­dent of Córdoba-based Mueloliva, pre­dicts that all retail prices for olive oil will go up in Spain within a few weeks.

"The big ques­tion is whether in a time of major finan­cial cri­sis and unem­ploy­ment Spanish con­sumers will be will­ing to pay about - per­cent more for a basic item in their shop­ping bas­ket.”

"There was a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion here about seven years ago when the shelf price of extra vir­gin increased to almost €-/L. There was no finan­cial cri­sis then and domes­tic olive oil con­sump­tion fell ten per­cent.”

Exports also at risk

"International olive oil dis­trib­u­tors are also con­cerned about these high prices because they think that at this level con­sump­tion in Asia and South America is going to decrease so I think we’ll have a prob­lem there in the future, maybe” Muela said.

Due to fac­tors such as ship­ping times and exist­ing ware­house stocks, he expects it will take about - – - months before retail prices also rise in the United States or United Kingdom.

Muela, who was him­self spend­ing today try­ing to decide on new prices, said his main worry now was how export mar­kets would react to rises.

"If we penal­ize inter­na­tional sales it will be tough to increase them.”

Deoleo-Hojiblanca merger tipped

Meanwhile, Spanish news por­tal elEconomista.es reports that Hojiblanca, Spain’s biggest olive oil coop­er­a­tive, is in talks to buy - per­cent of Deoleo, which is said to be seek­ing new investors for its next period of growth.

"If the deal goes through, and it seems like it will, Deoleo will grow and become the top oil pro­ducer in the world, sur­pass­ing titans in the ever-strong Italian oil indus­try,” it reports.

The pos­si­ble merger is seen by some in Spain’s olive oil sec­tor as likely to enhance Spain’s export push but oth­ers say the con­cen­tra­tion in the extra vir­gin seg­ment would be anti-com­pet­i­tive.



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