Why the price of a litre of extra virgin olive oil ranges from 3 to 30 pound.
In this article we will explain the factors influencing the price of an extra virgin olive oil.
- The harvest price, that varies remarkably if you use a tractor with a mechanical arm, an electric harvester or if you hand-pick. Usually the tractor is used in intensive farming. This is due to the cost of the initial investment to buy the machine and to the fact that it suits better all the typical features of intensive farming: big olive groves of young trees producing medium / big olives, with single trunks, a regular arrangement and a homogeneous level of ripening. Small producers usually have smaller olive groves of ancient trees with multiple trunks, scattered arrangement and progressive ripening. This situation is not suitable to the use of a tractor. The electric harvester gently shakes the branches without causing any damage. It is a very common method in organic farming as it is time effective but respects the trees and the olives. Manual harvest is the most ancient method, very respectful of the tree and the olives but not really time effective.
- Single estate premium olives, harvested, milled and bottled in the same area and then sold (by the producer locally and by the distributor) or big batches of low quality oil purchased from different nations and then bottled in a factory.
- Small producer or multinational. For a difference between intensive agriculture and biodynamic farming see https://olivocracy.co.uk/biodynamic-farming-in-7-points/
- Costs of extraction, storage, bottling and distribution.
- Maintenance of the olive grove, treatments, pruning, cleaning etc.
- Certifications (if any)
In a nut-shell, there are at least 3 macro-categories of extra virgin olive oil:
- When you find a liter of olive oil for £3/£6 on the shelves of a supermarket it is usually from intensive agriculture and likely to be treated with a remarkable amount of pesticides. It is probably from low quality olives, stock in containers and then purchased by a multinational which will bottle it in their factories. Taste will tell.
- Then you can find a liter of organic olive oil from £9 and that is better for sure than the previous one. It is usually purchased by a big company from a producing country (usually Spain, Greece or Italy) and than bottled in their factory. These are blends from different producers. The main differences with the previous category is the organic certification and the quality of the olives being higher.
- Last but not the least, from £15 per liter, you can find extra virgin olive oils from small producers, short production chain whose steps are easy to track: the producer, the local mill (which often is in the farm itself) and the distributor. The information related to the EVOOs belonging to this category is much easier to find. This helps avoid scams https://olivocracy.co.uk/avoid-scam-organic-and-biodynamic-extra-virgin-olive-oil/
We belong to the third category. We strive to provide as much information as possible and to make the chain completely transparent. In order to do this, not only do we choose certified organic and biodynamic single estate extra virgin olive oils, but we also provide chemical tests on request.
Three stories for the same product. We love to tell our consumers the most romantic and passionate love story.