This survey offers insights into consumer attitudes toward olive oil. Survey results suggest a need for clearer information so that consumers can better understand the olive oil choices available. About half of consumers bake with olive oil, which may offer producers an opportunity to begin marketing olive oil as a healthy and flavorful baking option. The importance of flavor may provide an opportunity for quality producers to urge consumers to experience the flavor contrast between fresh extra virgin olive oil and the substandard oil familiar to many US consumers. Producers may want to avoid the terms “fruity,” “peppery” and “grassy” until such time as the consumer accepts these words as descriptors of tasty oil. Given the importance of health to consumers, producers may want to examine thoroughly whether higher-quality olive oil is healthier than lower-quality olive oil. Producers may also want to clearly indicate the best uses for their oil on the package, offer a harvest date to assist the consumer in assessing the freshness of the oil, and consider packaging that allows the consumer to see the color while still protecting the oil from damaging light.
Future surveys could further explore use, preference and purchasing behavior, as well as more detailed understanding of specific demographics. It also would be worthwhile to gain consumer insights on the importance of price, harvest date, flavor and shelf life.
This survey was performed by the UC Davis Olive Center. Click here to view the entire survey.