`Barjol Proposes an Olive Oil Campaign in Japan

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Barjol Proposes an Olive Oil Campaign in Japan

Apr. 12, 2012
Julie Butler

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Sell­ing olive oil’s nutri­tional and health ben­e­fits to the Japan­ese is the focus of a new cam­paign being devel­oped by the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil.

IOC exec­u­tive direc­tor Jean-Louis Bar­jol said the plan awaited a green light from the IOC board but he hoped it could get started towards the end of the year.

Speak­ing in Span­ish at the World Bulk Oil Exhi­bi­tion in Madrid, Bar­jol said mate­r­ial used in the cam­paign to pro­mote olive oil and table olives could also be used as part of the IOC’s ongo­ing pro­mo­tion work in China.

He said he also had good news about a change in con­sumer behav­iour in China, where olive oil imports con­tinue to soar.

The Chi­nese con­sumer is no longer mainly buy­ing olive oil as a slightly unusual gift for friends, they are increas­ingly buy­ing it to use them­selves,” he said.

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One of the main Chi­nese importers was work­ing towards the estab­lish­ment of the country’s first IOC-approved tast­ing panel, an ini­tia­tive the IOC was pro­vid­ing assis­tance for.

Last year the IOC com­mis­sioned mar­ket research on Japan, South Korea and Aus­tralia ahead of choos­ing one of the three for a new cam­paign. Bar­jol said today that research showed that the South Korean mar­ket was com­plex but looked very inter­est­ing, though sales were cur­rently low.

The South Korean peo­ple are already famil­iar with olive oil, and reached a cer­tain level of con­sump­tion (in 2004/05) which then fell when peo­ple shifted to grape­seed oil.”

It was a mar­ket that must not be neglected because it could play a dou­ble role, he said.

Not only was there poten­tial to claim back mar­ket share thanks to the high pur­chas­ing power of con­sumers there, South Korea also had an impact on trends in China. If olive oil became fash­ion­able in South Korea it could have a big influ­ence on the Chi­nese,” Bar­jol said.

As for Aus­tralia, cur­rent lev­els of olive oil imports into that coun­try were unlikely to change because it was increas­ing its con­sump­tion at the same time as its pro­duc­tion.

I have a lot of respect for Aus­tralia but it is a com­pli­cated coun­try and it’s not easy to work with them,” Bar­jol said.

Asked after his speech to clar­ify the com­ment, Bar­jol said that at times It is dif­fi­cult to know what the Aus­tralians are look­ing for.”

The Aus­tralian olive oil sec­tor some­times seemed out of step with the real­ity of Aus­tralian con­sumer behav­ior, he said. The sta­tis­tics show that the Aus­tralian con­sumer is the same as con­sumers else­where in the world, they are inter­ested in both vir­gin and pomace oil. For price rea­sons they want vir­gin olive oil for cold dishes and many buy pomace for fry­ing,” he said.

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