When speaking to olive oil producers I normally hear complaints about the low prices and the difficulty to promote their product. Speaking with restaurant owners most of the time I hear: “Why should I invest in a better quality of olive oil since my customers are not able to understand what they are eating?”. Speaking with consumers I often hear: “I want to learn more about olive oil, I want to be able to select a good olive oil for my family and not eat everything we’ve been served, but where can I find this education?”. This is the best-case scenario when a consumer wants to know more about olive oil. Most of them they don’t even know that olive oil has different categories, or that it is a very sensitive product that needs special storing conditions, or that every variety has different characteristics when it comes to aromas and flavors.
It is true that in the last 25 years, world consumption of olive oil has increased by 1 million tons (from 1.8 million tons at the beginning of the 1990s to 3 million tons in the 2016 crop year), but numbers of global consumption are still way too low than those of production. This is why the majority of people around the globe know nothing about olive oil, its uses and benefits and still eat a lot of seed oils every day.
If we really want to bring change in the olive oil sector what we should do is focus on training. We should train the producer, the seller in the store, the restaurant owner, the chef and everybody that sells or uses olive oil. But the main focus must be given to the consumers. When the consumer is well informed and demands quality this will bring the change in all the chain behind olive oil production and supply.
Consumers must be trained from a young age about the health benefits and the gustatory pleasure that a unique product like Extra Virgin Olive Oil offers. Children are the consumers or/and the olive oil professionals of the future. If we want to put the foundation for a better olive oil sector we should start by training them early when they are still at school.
We should teach people that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the healthiest fat on earth, it is the best condiment for their food, and that every variety has a unique bouquet of aromas which is extremely interesting to learn how to combine it with food. And what better way to learn this than gastronomy. Gastronomy is a fun, tasteful and enjoyable way to explore the various nuances of olive oil’s aromas and flavors and the countless ways to pair it with food in order to create memorable dishes. The gastronomy of olive oil can offer unforgettable experiences capable to change someone’s view on olive oil.
I strongly believe that training the consumers regularly through olive oil tasting events and affordable olive oil tasting seminars combined with gastronomy is the key marketing tool for the promotion of Extra Virgin Olive Oil worldwide.
Original text in Spanish on Oleum Xauen
Revista Online No. 16 page 61