` Six Firms Vie to Promote Olive Oil in North America - Olive Oil Times

Six Firms Vie to Promote Olive Oil in North America

May. 25, 2011
Julie Butler

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Six firms are vying for a 1.2 mil­lion euro ($1.7 mil­lion) con­tract to pro­mote olive oil and olive con­sump­tion in the world’s biggest import mar­ket – the U.S. – and Canada.

The dead­line to have pro­pos­als post­marked was May 17. Bids from five North American and one European firm were offi­cially opened this morn­ing in Madrid by the International Olive Council (IOC) who will now use exter­nal experts to eval­u­ate the pro­pos­als in time for the suc­cess­ful agency to start in July.

The Olive Council wants to launch the cam­paign dur­ing the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade’s Fancy Food Show to be held in Washington this Summer. Promotional ini­tia­tives are expected to focus on the retail level where the agency’s research has indi­cated it is eas­ier to influ­ence buy­ing deci­sions.

An IOC spokes­woman said the names of the appli­cants could not be revealed. Two exer­cised their right to have a rep­re­sen­ta­tive present at today’s bid open­ing. The con­tract up for grabs is an 18-month cam­paign to increase con­sump­tion of olive oil and table olives in the U.S. and Canada.

In its ten­der infor­ma­tion, the IOC says that the focus should be on their many health-related prop­er­ties. At the same time, it has to be made clear that olive oil and table olives are healthy prod­ucts that can be used raw and cooked to fla­vor not only Mediterranean but other kinds of cuisines.”

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The request for pro­pos­als con­tin­ues the impor­tance of media rela­tions is stressed. Motivating the media to dis­trib­ute mes­sages about the ben­e­fits of olive oil and table olives pro­vides the strongest oppor­tu­nity for build­ing vis­i­bil­ity.”

The IOC ten­der doc­u­ments also empha­size that straight adver­tis­ing cam­paigns should be avoided. The main focus should be on infor­ma­tion-ori­ented action, such as edi­to­r­ial arti­cles and ser­vices, inter­views and so on. The gen­eral mes­sages to be con­veyed should take into con­sid­er­a­tion the three dis­tinc­tive fea­tures of olive oil and table olives, namely their unique taste, the range and dif­fer­ent qual­i­ties of prod­uct avail­able; and their health aspects and ben­e­fits.”

And it wants to edu­cate con­sumers on price: Moreover, the gen­eral mes­sage based on these dis­tinc­tive fea­tures should be aimed at jus­ti­fy­ing the price of the prod­uct.”

The IOC ten­der spec­i­fi­ca­tions also say that the shorter term pri­or­ity is to get exist­ing con­sumers of olives and olive oil to use more. Wooing new con­sumers is the longer term goal.

Outside of Europe, USA and Canada rep­re­sent the largest con­sumer of table olives and olive oil world­wide. However, it is impor­tant for the olive indus­try in the short and medium terms to focus on secur­ing greater vol­ume pur­chases from exist­ing con­sumers and in the long term from new ones. The expec­ta­tion is for imports to increase sig­nif­i­cantly over the next 3 to 5 years.”

A recent IOC fore­cast said that the world’s biggest user of olive oil, the EU, was likely to con­sume 1.8 mil­lion tons in 2010-11. Meanwhile, the US was fore­cast to remain the sec­ond high­est, with con­sump­tion expected to rise just 0.7%, to 260,000 tons.

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