The prices of olive oil have surged more than 100% in many parts of the world, reaching record highs in some countries. This has triggered an increase in cooking oil thefts, with thieves targeting supermarkets, restaurants and even homes to get their hands on the increasingly expensive product.
In Europe, the world’s leading producer of olive oil, prices have more than doubled in some countries, with some Italian producers being forced to charge up to €25 for an 800-gram bottle. This surge is largely due to a reduced production caused by a prolonged drought in Spain and Italy, which are the world’s largest producers of olive oil.
The rise in prices has also caused alarm in other countries that don’t produce olive oil, such as the US, where it has caused shortages in some stores and sent the cost of olive oil soaring. As a result, some people are finding their own ways to get the product, and are resorting to cooking oil thefts.
In many regions, thieves are not only targeting grocery stores to steal bottles of olive oil, but have even been known to break into people’s homes to get access to this expensive item. In some places, there have even been reports of groups of people gathering outside of stores waiting for a delivery of olive oil before attempting to intercept it.
The soaring prices and resulting thefts mean that many people are struggling to afford or access olive oil, forcing them to turn to alternative cooking oils such as sunflower oil and canola oil. However, these alternatives are not only more expensive, but also do not provide the same health benefits as olive oil.
To combat the rising cost and dwindling supply of olive oil, producers and suppliers are looking for alternative ways to produce the product. These include the use of more resilient olive tree varieties and improved irrigation methods, as well as enhancing the processing methods to help increase yields.