Same Brand Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Revealed To Cost Up To 45 Per Cent More In Some Spanish Supermarkets

Image of olive oil on supermarket shelves in Spain.

Image of olive oil on supermarket shelves in Spain. Credit: Tamorlan/Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

IT has been revealed that the same brand of extra virgin olive oil can cost up to 45 per cent more in different Spanish supermarkets.

In a statement published this Tuesday, September 12, the association FACUA-Consumers In Action reported that the same brand of extra virgin olive oil could differ by up to 45 per cent more. Depending on the supermarket chain where it was purchased, the difference in price was as much as €4.

This discovery came after the association carried out a study involving 50 brands of virgin and extra virgin olive oil in eight of the country’s main chains.

They found that the difference in prices between the different brands and establishments reached €5.31 per litre (68.1 per cent) in the case of the one-litre bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

As a result, FACUA has called on the Government to thoroughly investigate the escalation of prices that is occurring in the sector.

It asked for a ceiling to be applied on profit margins at all stages of the chain, pointing out that these price increases are not only the result of poor olive harvests but also of speculation.

FACUA pointed to the royal decree law on VAT reduction

FACUA also pointed to the royal decree law which approved the reduction of VAT from 10 to 5 per cent. The law prohibited any increase that was not a consequence of cost increases, which would subsequently represent a punishable practice it added.

Carried out on September 4, the study compared the prices of 144 virgin and extra virgin olive oils on sale in Alcampo, Carrefour, Dia, Hipercor, Eroski, Mercadona, Aldi and Lidl.

This analysis took into account oils in plastic containers of 1, 2 and 5 litres, in cans of 1, 2.5, 3 and 5 litres, and in spray cans of 200 millilitres.

Price of oil in plastic containers

As revealed by the results, the average price of a litre of extra virgin olive oil in 1-litre plastic containers currently stands at €9.67.

Of those analysed by FACUA, the most expensive was the litre of Maestros de Hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil, which was on sale in Carrefour at €13.10 euros.

The cheapest was the Mar de Olivos brand, at €7.79 in Alcampo. The price difference between one and the other is 68.1 per cent.

Among the virgin oils in the 1-litre format, the difference reached 53.4 per cent. The most expensive was Coosur Serie Oro, at €11.80 euros in Carrefour while the cheapest price was shared between the white brands of Carrefour, Lidl and Aldi, at €7.69/litre. The average price for this variety of oil was €8.91.

The average 5-litre bottle of extra virgin olive oil costs €44.35 (€8.87/litre). Carrefour’s Maestros de Hojiblanca brand was the most expensive, at €52.49. Iznaoliva, at €33.99, was the cheapest, at Alcampo.

There was a price difference between one and the other of 54 per cent. Virgin olive oil, also in a 5-litre carafe, costs €39 on average. The most expensive was sold by Carrefour, at €48.05 for the Carbonell brand. Alcampo was the cheapest, at €33.99 for the Olivar Centenario brand.

A 3-litre bottle of extra virgin olive oil worked out to cost an average of €27.10 euros (€9.03/litre). The most expensive was the Maestros de Hojiblanca brand, on sale at Alcampo for €34.99.

The two cheapest, at €22.99, were from the firms Coosur and Olisone in Lidl. In virgin olive oil, the average of the oils analysed was €23.63, while the most expensive, at €28.99 in Hipercor, was the Coosur Serie Oro brand. Eroski sold the cheapest, with a special offer on the Carbonell brand, at €21.59.

Price of oil in cans

In cans, all the oils analysed by FACUA were extra virgin. The average price of the 5-litre format was €46.36 euros.

Hipercor sold the most expensive brand, Parqueoliva DOP Priego de Córdoba at €56.22, with the cheapest found to be De Nuestra Tierra, which was sold at Carrefour for €40.95.

For 2.5 litres, the average price was €29.71 euros. The cheapest product was Oro Bailén Arbequina, at €35.27 in Hipercor, while the cheapest was the De Nuestra Tierra brand, at Carrefour for €24.95.

The average selling price of extra virgin olive oil in a one-litre can was €9.70 euros, practically identical to the average price of €9.67 for a litre in plastic.

In this case, the most expensive was the De Nuestra Tierra brand sold in Carrefour, at €11.25, while the cheapest was an offer from Eroski in the La Española brand, at €8.75.

In spray form, the average price for the 200-millilitre format was €3.12 euros. The most expensive of the six products included in this study was the Maeva brand, at €3.80 euros in Carrefour, while the cheapest was Mercadona’s white brand at €2.80.

Up to 45 per cent price difference depending on the supermarket

The biggest price difference between the same brand depending on the establishment where it is sold was found in the one-litre bottle of Carbonell extra virgin olive. The prices ranged from €8.86 at Alcampo to €12.85 at Carrefour, a difference of 45 per cent, or €3.99/litre.

Although the drought and lack of rainfall are argued to be the main cause of this price rise in virgin and extra virgin olive oil, FACUA calls on the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to carry out greater control of the production chain.

It asked for an investigation to be made into whether there is speculation by large distribution chains or other intermediaries when applying profit margins to these products.

FACUA asked for price caps to be implemented

The association pointed out that the government can set price ceilings or cap profit margins as allowed by the trade law.

Article 13 of Law 7/1996 of 15 January 1996 on the Regulation of Retail Trade – which deals with freedom of pricing – states that: ‘The State Government, after hearing the sectors concerned, may set the prices or marketing margins for certain products, as well as subject their modifications to control or to prior administrative authorisation’.

This power is envisaged in several cases, including: ‘In the case of products of prime necessity or strategic raw materials, and: ‘exceptionally and while the circumstances that make intervention advisable persist, when, in a given sector, there is a lack of effective competition’.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at