NEW YORK - Olive oil, the cornerstone of one of the country's healthiest diets is going up right along with everything else as some consumers are seeing as much as a 25 percent price increase on grocery store shelves.
"It’s the second year running where there’s been a harvest adversely impacted by climate change," said Joseph Profaci, the executive director of the North American Olive Oil Association.
The prices started going up in Europe earlier this year due to a drought fueling a price hike U.S. Customers can feel for ourselves.
The NAOO represents about half of domestic olive oil consumers whether they're food service professionals or retailers.
"There really isn’t a good substitute for extra virgin olive oil and what that means is we’re still seeing a strong demand for the product even if prices are going up," Profaci told FOX 5.
Health benefits are the biggest driver of the demand for extra virgin olive oil.
"You see benefits for heart health, brain health, overall inflammation within the body and a host of additional health benefits that we continue to see come out in study after study," said ? Kimberly Houlding, the president of the American Olive Oil Producers Association.
Experts say it’s the most natural cooking oil out there to use since no heat or chemical solvents are used in its production and some of its ingredients even help treat chronic health conditions.
"The price increase is in the situation we’re seeing now because of climate changes, its uncharted waters for us," Profaci expressed.
But there is a sliver of hope for good news on the horizon.
"The harvest reports we’re getting this year are an improvement from last year so that’s a great relief," he said.
Profaci says experts won’t be able to predict potential prices until early spring after harvest season.