Supermarkets in Spain are taking the decision to lock up bottles of olive oil after a wave of thefts has swept the country since price hikes.
Extra virgin olive oil is available for up to 14.50 euros per liter in some Spanish supermarkets, as a result of which it is included in the same product category as whiskey.
Specifically, it is placed on shelves with security labels, such as alcoholic beverages, cosmetics and electrical appliances.
We are facing a big increase in thefts,” said Ruben Navarro, managing director of the Tu Super supermarket chain, which has 30 stores in the Andalusia region. “Olive oil has become the perfect product to steal,” he said.
Olive oil prices, which officially stand at €8 a litre, have risen by 150% in the past two years in Spain as drought in the south has hit production. Gangs steal the oil to resell, Navarro said.
Since September, Tu Super has been “chaining” 5 liter bottles of olive oil together and locking them with a padlock on the shelves to prevent them from being stolen.
In Spain, the theft of items worth less than 400 euros is not punished, unless it is a series of thefts. Families in Spain usually buy olive oil in bulk for cooking.
With information from Reuters