21 Mar 2024, 13:53
Sören Amelang Jess Smee

Product testers see climate crisis impact on food quality as olive oil deteriorates

Spiegel Online / Clean Energy Wire

Increasingly “rancid” or “muddy” tasting olive oil appears to be the first prominent example of climate change blighting what people eat in Germany, the country's most influential consumer product test organisation has said in a new report. "For the first time, we have the impression that the climate crisis is being reflected in a food test," said food chemist Jochen Wettach, who led the report called “The taste of climate change” for Stiftung Warentest, Spiegel Online reported. “Drought and heat in Mediterranean countries are leaving their mark,” Stiftung Warentest said. “The average quality has dropped significantly compared to previous tests. Products in the highest extra virgin quality class often taste rancid or bitter, and the chemical quality is also weaker than usual.”

Many olive trees in the Mediterranean region have suffered from extreme heat, a lack of water and pests over the past two summers, resulting in a drop in EU production by an estimated 40 percent in the 2022/23 season, the report said. Damaged fruit and poor harvests have also pushed up prices by around 50 percent: The average price for a litre of olive oil was 10.30 euros in the previous test in 2022, but has now jumped to 15.70 euros.

The news made headlines in Germany, where Stiftung Warentest is a national institution whose test results are often printed on products as a selling point. In total, 23 olive oils were tested by its scientists, of which only four were awarded a “good" rating, and six products failed.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee