First of all there have been some bad weather conditions that have affected the production of olive oil. There will be less olive oil produced, reducing the supply. This in itself might have driven the price up a bit, but the two next reasons really sealed the increase.
There is now an increased demand for olive oil, after a study confirmed the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, of which olive oil is a prominent factor. More people will now be purchasing olive oil.
Finally and thirdly, there has been a crack down on shady olive oil practices. it seems that some unscrupulous olive oil manufacturers have been using poorer quality oils and including additives to make these oils appear to be extra-virgin olive oil, in order to decrease their manufacturing costs and make a larger profit.
So, increased demand and a decreased supply means that olive oil prices are almost certain to rise. At least we are forewarned, so we can take some steps to save money now.
I love using olive oil in cooking, for sandwiches and salads, even in baking (a good tip is to use olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil in brownie mixes. You’ll wind up with moist brownies that taste gourmet). I’m not happy about the probably price increases, so I plan on employing my standard grocery tricks for items that can get expensive.
I’ll buy my olive oil in bulk (for tips on storing olive oil, click here), use coupons when I can get them and seek out ethnic groceries, which usually sell imported olive oil and other products for less money than chain grocery stores. I don’t know how they do it, but they do.