Olive oil prices too low

Olive oil retail prices are continuing their drop after their rally last year. Representatives of the sector told Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou yesterday that shelf prices have fallen by 7 percent since June, when prices peaked. This, along with offers especially in the 5-liter containers that absorb about half of the consumption, drop the reduction further to 20 percent, said the head of the Greek Association of Industries and Processors of Olive Oil (SEVITEL), Grigoris Antoniadis. Papathanassiou noted that the dipping trend in prices will apparently dominate the rest of the season unless something extraordinary happens. «Last year when Spain, a major olive oil-producing country, had problems, there were increases in prices. This year, as things are going better there, we have a decline, without this meaning that Spain has reached the maximum of its production as it did in other years,» said Papathanassiou. When asked about other goods, the deputy minister said there are indeed other products where price reductions are recorded. Antoniadis also said that the raw material contributes to the shaping of the final product’s price by 60 percent, so a decline of about 25-30 percent seen in producers’ prices should have affected smaller reductions than those already appearing on shelves. A key issue during yesterday’s meeting, which also included representatives of the olive oil trading and standardization bodies, was the increase of checks for the quality of olive oil in the market and the limiting of illegal bulk olive oil trafficking in 17-kilogram containers. As the head of SEVITEL stated, past surveys the association has conducted showed that seven out of 10 bulk olive oil samples were found to be either low in quality or adulterated, «certainly below standard and certainly non-edible.»