How much should an extra virgin olive oil made in Italy cost?
Many people question us on – and wonder – how much a first quality extra virgin olive oil MADE IN ITALY should cost.
First and foremost it is important to know that in order to produce a single liter of oil you need approximately between 5 and 7 kg of olives. The amount of olives needed vary according to some non-negligible factors: the harves time (for example: if you want to get a first quality extra virgin olive oil, olives must be picked when they start to ripen and in this case the amount needed to produce one liter of oil will be higher), the type of cultivar (different olive varieties produce different amounts of oil), the soil, the climatic conditions.
As you can see the annual olive oil yield is hugely variable.
Thanks to these few lines you now realize that the process of making extra virgin olive oil is made up of different phases and requires lots of passion and care. These key points make it – by its nature- “expensive”.
We can say that on average 100 kg of olives produce 14-20 kg of oil (the specific gravity of 1 kg of oil, at 15 ° C is between 0.915 and 0.919 kg/m3, and it corresponds to more or less 1.12 liters). So in order to make 1 liter of extra virgin olive oil you need more or less 5-7 kg of olives.
The production cost for 1 liter of oil made with all the care and precautions it requires, can vary considerably. It depends on these many factors:
– the geographical area of cultivation (North, Center or South of Italy,)
– the work done on the olive trees (pruning, treatments, fertilization etc.)
– the harvesting methods (manual stripping, with facilitators or mechanized) and the cost of specifically hired personnel
– the position of the olive tree fields (this parameter should not be underestimated especially in areas where the soil reaches or even exceeds a grade of 45%, or it is not easily accessible, making the gathering, the storage and the transport of fruits harder)
– the transport of olives (from the collection area to the olive mill)
– the pressing (that is the money impact of the mill’s services, according to the techniques and services offered/needed)
– how the oil is stored and preserved (e.g. oil storage in steel containers under a stream of nitrogen and constant temperature to maintain the organoleptic characteristics, affects the final cost)
These factors clearly show that it is absolutely unthinkable to give an average and equal price for the whole of Italy. Nevertheless following the guidelines above mentioned, we will try to give you some information about the average prices rated for the North, Center and South of Italy and some parameters closely affecting these areas’s prices.
What is the price for an Extra Virgin Oilve oil produced in the NORTH OFITALY?
In the North of Italy there are five regions (Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Liguria, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna region) all of them claiming a fair production of olive oil, even though the area devoted to the cultivation of olives is smaller than in the Center and South of Italy. Liguria is the region that boasts the largest production of oil. Good quality olive oil is produced also on the shores of Lake Garda and of the other Lombard lakes. In these regions the olive trees are relatively young and small. As we all know the scarcer the product the higher the price, so in this area where the oil production is much lower than in the rest of the peninsula, the price is relatively higher.
The average price for 1 liter of extra virgin quality oil produced in the North of Italy is between 10 and 14 euros. The range of prices, in food-stores, varies between 12 to 16 euro per liter, but we can find price peaks up to 40 euros.
What is the price for an extra virgin olive oil produced in the CENTRE of ITALY, and in TUSCANY?
Olive farming is widely practiced almost everywhere in central Italy (Tuscany, Marche, Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo and Sardinia). The largest quantities are produced in Lazio, Abruzzo and Tuscany. In these regions, extra virgin olive oil culture is strongly felt and appreciated. Many companies aim to produce an excellent product, some keep on preferring to pick their olives by hand (using combs, sticks, etc.).
The average price for 1 liter of extra virgin quality oil produced in the Central Italy (and in Tuscany) is between 8 and 13 euros. The range of prices, in food-stores, varies between 10 to 14 euro per liter, but we can find price peaks up to 30 euros. (click here in order to see our prices and BUY OUR OIL ON LINE )
What is the price for an extra virgin olive oil produced in the SOUTH of ITALY?
In the southern regions (Molise, Campania, Puglia,Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily) thanks to favorable weather conditions there is a higher concentration of olive trees. Almost 90% of all olive oil produced in Italy comes from southern regions. Puglia is the unquestionable queen of olive oil; she actually produces something like 250,000 tons of oil per year. In the south of Italy, the good quality and great amount of olive oil comes from the elevated number of olive trees cultivated in this area.
Considering the high production, the substantial amount of oil (thus a more competitive market), in addition to the lower production costs (compared to other regions), many companies from the South of Italy are able to offer lower prices. The average price for 1 liter of extra virgin quality oil produced in the South of Italy is between 5.5 and 9 euros. The range of prices, in food-stores, varies between 7.5 to 12 euro per liter, but we can find price peaks up to 15 or 20 euros.
We must remember also that prices are also strongly linked to the year’s crop; both quality and quantity of olive oil obtained per annual harvest can vary significantly, and so does its price.
Of course, it is also possible to find decent quality extra virgin oils for a lower price: in any case, it is not advised to buy an extra virgin olive oil whose price is less than (or equal to) the average wholesale price indicated in the various market places.
Even though reading the label can generally guarantee the quality and origins of an olive oil, it can also be an end in itself. Direct purchase from the Producer, where you can taste the oil, is therefore the best way to buy it.