According to British newspaper The Times, agricultural union Coldiretti has said Italy’s domestic olive oil supply will be fully depleted by April 2019.
The cause is two fold. First is a bacteria, Xylella bacteria, that has effected millions of olive trees across the region, with 4 million alone coming from the region of Sorrento. But the bacteria isn't the only situation. The Puglia region of Italy is where approximately 40% of Italian olive oil is produced. Approximately 25 million trees have been destroyed due to frost and other unusual weather conditions.
And as the laws of supply and demand work... this will cause a surge in Italian olive oil pricing around the world. Which of course, will also hurt the farmers and industry in Italy while they look to rebuild crops.
But don't fear - there are absolutely beautiful olive oils from other regions of the world, many could argue are even better, but haven't had the advantage of good marketing - like so many Italian products have.
When you head to the grocery store, start thinking about Spain for olive oil. Spanish food products are virtually unknown, but consistently their olive oil receives higher rates of success for major awards, including the World Olive Oil Awards. The chart below shows the results of the 2018 World Olive Oil Awards - showing that while Italy beat Spain for the total number of awards, Spain submitted significantly fewer olive oils to the show. When looking back to previous years, Spain often comes out on top.
Croatia is another region producing incredible olive oil, and the island of Pag is home to the oldest olives in the world.
And definitely pay attention to Turkey... In the 2017/2018 season the country produced 287K tons of olive oil. The country is investing in infrastructure to expand its production.
So, before you freak out over the cost of this liquid gold, start exploring oils from regions like Spain, Turkey, Croatia, Portugal, Greece, and California... You just might find a new favourite.
Source: World Olive Oil Awards
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