How Retailers and Brands Can Navigate Skyrocketing Olive Oil Prices in 2024

How Retailers and Brands Can Navigate Skyrocketing Olive Oil Prices in 2024

9th Jul, 2024

Aman Singh

By Aman Singh

Olive oil, renowned for its complex flavor and myriad health benefits, holds a significant place in the global market, valued at $14.64 billion in 2023. It is anticipated to reach $19.77 billion by 2032, with a steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.42%.

This growth is fueled by:

  • Increased consumer demand for healthier oils.
  • Olive oil’s rising popularity in skincare products.
  • Greater retail availability.

Interestingly, this market expansion occurs alongside rising olive oil prices, mainly due to a notable decrease in production. Eight European Union countries, which are the main producers, saw a dramatic drop in output from an average of 2.17 million tons to just 1.50 million tons in 2022—a 30.88% decline. Unfortunately, this drop in production comes as no surprise.

Erratic weather patterns, rising temperatures, and exacerbating drought conditions in the Mediterranean basin have taken their toll. These climate changes disrupt the growing cycles of olive trees, leading to poorer crop yields and lower-quality olives.

In the US, where olive oil constitutes 19% of all cooking oils sold and 40% of sales value due to its premium pricing, the market is expected to grow at an impressive CAGR of 11.31% between 2024 and 2032. This forecast is significant despite a recent dip in domestic consumption, which may further decline due to economic pressures. As a result, consumers must make difficult choices as they battle inflation, shrinkflation, and thin budgets.

DataWeave’s Analysis of Rising Olive Oil Prices

At DataWeave, we utilized our advanced AI-powered data aggregation and analysis platform to scrutinize the pricing trends of olive oils across key US retailers over the past year. Our analysis covered 130+ SKUs from major chains including Walmart, Kroger, Giant Eagle, and Target.

The data revealed a notable escalation in olive oil prices, with consumers facing a sharp 25.8% increase from April 2023 to April 2024.

This trend of rising costs was consistent across all analyzed retailers. Specifically, Walmart and Giant Eagle each reported a substantial 30% increase in their olive oil prices over the past year. In contrast, Target and Kroger experienced somewhat more modest hikes, at 20% and 15% respectively.

Further investigation into individual brands within our sample highlighted that no brand is immune to the impacts of the ongoing supply shortages. Walmart’s own Great Value brand saw an exceptional 60% surge in prices. Other prominent olive oil brands such as Carapelli, Terra Delysia, and Bertolli also faced significant price increases, ranging from 20% to 50%.

This across-the-board rise in prices underscores the widespread effect of supply constraints on the olive oil market, affecting both premium and private label brands alike.

What Strategies Can Retailers and Brands Employ?

In a market where consumer preferences and price sensitivities are rapidly evolving, retailers and brands must adopt versatile strategies without compromising on profit margins.

Diversifying Brand Selection

Retailers can enhance their appeal by offering a diverse range of olive oil brands, thereby stimulating competition among brands based on price, quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction. A well-curated selection that includes well-known brands like Filippo Berio and Bertolli, alongside emerging labels such as Terra Delyss, and premium options like Carapelli, allows retailers to meet a wide array of consumer preferences and budgets.

For premium outlets, it might be beneficial to introduce more economical options than typically offered to attract budget-conscious consumers. Employing advanced assortment intelligence tools can provide retailers with crucial data, helping them make informed decisions about which brands to stock and promote, ensuring they meet consumer demand effectively while managing inventory costs.

Data-driven Pricing

With rising olive oil prices, competitive pricing is more crucial than ever. Retailers must strive to balance competitiveness with margin preservation. It’s essential for retailers to not just passively respond to market price increases but to actively ensure that their offerings are competitively priced relative to the market.

This involves using sophisticated pricing intelligence tools, such as those provided by DataWeave, which track market trends and competitor pricing actions. These tools enable retailers to implement dynamic pricing strategies that respond promptly to market conditions and consumer demand shifts, helping to optimize sales and profitability.

Diversifying Sourcing

The traditional powerhouses of olive oil production, Spain and Italy, are now facing stiff competition from countries like Turkey and Tunisia. This shift is influenced by various factors, including currency fluctuations and changing trade policies, such as the imposition of tariffs on European olive oils by significant importers like the US. Retailers can take advantage of these changes by diversifying their sourcing strategies to include olive oil from non-traditional regions.

The 2022/2023 season saw remarkable production levels from countries outside the Mediterranean basin, with Iran and China setting new production records. By broadening their supply chains to incorporate these emerging markets, retailers can benefit from lower production costs and introduce unique products to their consumers, enhancing both competitiveness and profit margins.

Double Down on Private Labels

Large retailers have successfully used their scale to develop strong private-label brands that can buffer consumers from price hikes in the olive oil market. By focusing on expanding and promoting their private-label offerings, retailers can provide cost-effective alternatives to national brands.

Private labels generally have lower price points, making them particularly attractive during times of economic pressure and market volatility. Additionally, the development of private labels allows retailers to control more of their supply chain, from pricing to packaging, enabling them to offer high-quality products at competitive prices, thereby retaining customer loyalty and enhancing market share.

Navigating Market Pressures

High olive oil prices impact the entire supply chain, presenting varied challenges and opportunities:

  • Producers benefit from higher revenues but face increased pressure to maintain quality and yields in challenging climates. Adapting to these conditions with sustainable practices is crucial.
  • Exporters and Importers navigate tighter margins and greater risks due to tariffs and volume restrictions, requiring agility and strategic planning to adapt to market changes.
  • Retailers must carefully balance competitive pricing with rising procurement costs, affecting consumer affordability and potentially leading to shifts in buying patterns.
  • Consumers may seek cheaper alternatives or reduce their olive oil consumption, which influences overall market demand and pricing stability.

These dynamics underscore the necessity for retailers and brands to adopt innovative and proactive strategies to navigate the volatile olive oil market effectively. By focusing on adaptive pricing, diversified sourcing, and customer engagement, businesses can enhance their resilience and secure long-term success in this competitive landscape.

To learn more, talk to us today!

- Aman Singh
Vice President, Enterprise Sales. EMEA & APAC, 9th Jul, 2024

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