Impending Tariffs on Olive Oil are Expected to Create Shortage and Price Hikes for Italian Restaurants
Authentic, delicious olive oil is the heart of Italian cooking. From dipping bread at the start of the meal to enhancing the flavor of soups, marinades, pizza, fresh fish, poultry and pasta, the quality of an Italian restaurant is only as good as its ingredients and often times that means a recipe’s foundation and finish, olive oil. As a founding member of the North American Olive Oil Association and Board Advisor of leading olive oil brand, Pompeian, Inc., I know how important high-quality olive oil is to delivering the ultimate culinary experience which is why it’s important to know that access to America’s healthiest cooking oil is in jeopardy.
The current administration has proposed a retaliatory tariff on EU-Origin Imported Olive Oil, in connection with a World Trade Organization dispute over a large civil air craft. As a result of these proposed tariffs, restaurant operators and ultimately any manufacturer or consumer of olive oil can expect the cost of their bottle to double (or more), forcing restaurants and olive oil producers to consider closing their doors or substitute olive oil for less healthy cooking fats, such as butter or seed oil. This will be a difference that any Italian food lover will taste!
Most people don’t realize European olive oil represents over 70 percent of olive oil consumed in the U.S., and the domestic supply of olive oil is only able to satisfy five percent of national demand. If the proposed tariffs go into place, the nation will inevitably face an immense shortage of olive oil, which will force America’s small business owners to choose between jeopardizing the authenticity of their recipes or increasing the price of their dishes to offset the tariff.
Beyond serving as a cornerstone in Italian recipe classics and as a staple of the popular Mediterranean Diet, olive oil helps Americans eat and live well. It’s the only product on the proposed tariff list recommended for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases and illnesses, including some cancers, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Type 2 diabetes and more. As gatekeepers to flavorful and authentic Italian dishes everywhere, I urge the Italian restaurant industry to join in the fight against these unfair tariffs. Contact your elected officials in Washington to voice your concerns or sign the online petition at https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/petition. Together we can protect this precious ingredient and the integrity of the cuisine’s well-known recipes and restaurants.