We live in a random and chaotic world. Sometimes all that randomness produces something amazing like a triple rainbow, or penicillin, or even potato chips. Other times, however, it results in something considerably less amazing.
Case in point: a worldwide olive oil shortage.
The Washington Post reports that due to unpredictable weather patterns in Europe, specifically Spain, Italy, and Greece—where most of the world’s olive oil is produced—farmers are expecting unusually low crop yields for the year. This is bad news if you are a person who likes to dip bread in olive oil. Or eat garlic bread. Or make delicious salad dressings. Or roast vegetables drizzled with olive oil. Or sauté foods in olive oil. Or devour EVOO-based pizzas and/or pasta dishes. (If you’re not keeping track, that covers basically everyone with taste buds.)
According to the report, unusually hot and humid weather is responsible for the damage to many of Italy and Greece’s olive groves, while flooding in Spain’s farming regions has also slowed down production considerably. As a result, the amount of olive oil produced by the country’s farmers could be about half of what would normally be produced.
This is particularly troubling news because, as The Washington Post also reports, global demand for olive oil is currently skyrocketing thanks to its newfound popularity in China—a country which is importing almost $200 million of product per year.
If you’ve ever completed an Intro to Economics class you probably already know what happens to price when supply goes down and demand goes up, but in case you don't, let’s just say the bill at your favorite Italian restaurant or your local grocery store is probably going to get a little pricier down the road.
Unless they’re buying the fake stuff, that is.
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