This symbol of Mediterranean cuisine and this familiar bottle on our dinner tables is now an object of criminal desire. In Spain, facing persistent drought and rising prices, this precious “green gold” has become a target for unscrupulous thieves. A worrying situation threatens our way of cooking and eating on a daily basis.
to’olive oilThis “green gold” that we use daily in our kitchens has become a favorite target for thieves. In Spain, the world’s largest producer of olive oil, prices have reached historic levels, leading to an unprecedented wave of crimes across the industry.
The problem: unprecedented drought
Spain, the world’s largest producer and exporter of olive oil, was particularly affected by the harsh weather conditions. The unprecedented drought has paralyzed crops, leading to a sharp decline in production. Within two years, production has halved, from 1,380,000 tons to 610,000 tons for the 2022-2023 season. This situation led to prices rising by approximately 80% within one year, as the price per kilo rose from 3.60 to 6.48 euros.
“Green gold” which became the new target of thieves
Faced with this rise in prices, olive oil has become a prime target for criminals. Theft and resale of fraudulent products in stores has become the new scourge of the country. Not only do bandits steal the processed oil, they also attack olives, whether they are still on the trees or already picked. A recent theft saw 50,000 liters of extra virgin olive oil, worth more than half a million dollars, disappear from a mill in the Carcabouille area.
Barriers and guards to secure stock
In the face of this growing threat, producers are forced to increase their level of security. Barricades are being installed, and some are considering hiring guards. However, despite these measures, thefts continue, with significant losses for the affected companies.
Will daily olive oil become just a memory?
With continued adverse weather conditions and the growing threat of crime, the future of Spain’s olive oil industry is uncertain. If the drought persists, stocks may run out even before the start of the new harvest in October. Olive oil, once a simple everyday product, has become a valuable commodity that attracts the attention of criminals. The combination of drought and rising prices has created a critical situation, putting at risk the future of this essential industry in Spain… and our summer salads!