In Spain, the leading global producer of olive oil, numerous supermarkets are implementing heightened security measures due to escalating prices and a rise in theft incidents. The surge in prices has resulted in one-liter bottles of extra-virgin olive oil being marketed for as high as 14.5 euros ($15.77) in certain supermarkets. As a response, retailers are attaching security tags to olive oil bottles, aligning them with products such as spirits, cosmetics, and appliances to deter shoplifting and thefts, as reported by Reuters.
Over the last two years, the cost of olive oil has surged by 150%, primarily attributed to an intense drought in Southern Europe, a significant production region. Besides Spain, key olive oil producers encompass Italy, Greece, and Portugal. The escalating prices have placed a financial strain on households dependent on this oil. Spain, as the foremost global olive oil producer, contributes approximately 40% to the world’s total output.
“We are witnessing a significant increase in shoplifting,” said Ruben Navarro, CEO of Tu Super, a supermarket chain operating in Spain’s Andalucia region told Reuters. “Olive oil has become an attractive product for thieves to steal.”
To deter theft, Tu Super has taken measures by linking sizable 5-litre olive oil bottles together and securing them to shelves with padlocks since September.
The future of olive oil appears concerning, as Deoleo, the world’s leading producer, anticipates that olive oil prices in Spain will persist at unprecedented levels until at least June, owing to consecutive droughts in the southern regions of the country.
According to news sources, numerous Carrefour and Auchan supermarkets in Spain are installing security tags on one-liter bottles of olive oil, necessitating staff intervention for removal.
Instances of olive oil theft from mills have also been reported by Spanish police. In Spain, thefts of items valued at less than 400 euros go unpunished unless it constitutes a repeated offense.