` California Olive Ranch Rings in Change with New Year - Olive Oil Times

California Olive Ranch Rings in Change with New Year

Dec. 12, 2010
Lori Zanteson

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It’s har­vest sea­son in the world of California olive oil, and the indus­try is hard focused on pro­duc­tion. While the shared goal to pro­duce the best qual­ity oil is tan­ta­mount, pro­duc­ers must keep reach­ing for­ward to ensure con­tin­ued suc­cess in California’s olive oil explo­sion. California Olive Ranch (COR), America’s largest grower and proces­sor of olive oil, is doing just that as it leads California olive oil into a new year and lifts the region to the next level.

COR plans to ring in 2011 with some excit­ing changes, begin­ning with the unveil­ing of a rebranded fam­ily of prod­ucts. Consumers will start to see COR’s Everyday California Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil as well as its spe­cialty olive oils in a new, square bot­tle. The com­pany con­ducted research and focus groups before decid­ing on this bottle’s mod­ern look and easy to han­dle shape. Not only did the bot­tles get a make-over, they will fea­ture an improved fresh­ness label com­plete with stand-out har­vest and best by dates. Labels will reflect COR’s fresh­ness rec­om­men­da­tion of 18 months to two years when stored under opti­mal con­di­tions.

The new label infor­ma­tion includes a lot code which gives COR oils com­plete trace­abil­ity. From any bottle’s lot code, explains mar­ket­ing man­ager Kirsten Wanket, we can lit­er­ally tell you the entire chain of events from the grower to the dis­trib­uter to the retailer, every step of the way, even weather and irri­ga­tion pat­terns.” Amazing as the tech­nol­ogy is, its big­ger pur­pose is to pro­vide the con­sumer with the infor­ma­tion nec­es­sary to make an informed deci­sion. The olive oil label is a valu­able tool in con­sumer edu­ca­tion espe­cially as unscrupu­lous pro­duc­ers con­tinue to crowd mar­ket shelves with poor qual­ity oils.

In addi­tion to the rebrand­ing, COR has plans to ana­lyze its web­site this January with the objec­tive of edu­cat­ing con­sumers because, as Wanket believes, That’s where it starts.” Teaching con­sumers to rec­og­nize qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil is a shared com­mit­ment of California pro­duc­ers. The olive oil indus­try as a whole is sure to ben­e­fit from COR’s online edu­ca­tion cam­paign because its grow­ing vis­i­bil­ity and pres­ence on high pro­file super­mar­ket shelves has great poten­tial to draw con­sumers to its site.

So far mostly con­cen­trated in the American West, COR’s dis­tri­b­u­tion is expand­ing. A New England launch brought tremen­dous feed­back says Wanket who attrib­utes the response to an increas­ingly sophis­ti­cated olive oil mar­ket that wants qual­ity prod­ucts from the US. The New England recep­tion came as no sur­prise to Wanket who says, We go to mar­kets that under­stand qual­ity.” COR con­tin­ues to look for new grow­ing part­ners to increase its more than 10,000 acres of olives to meet retail demand. Led by Vice President of Orchard Services, Adam C. Englehardt, they’re see­ing a lot of grow­ers who are inter­ested in crops, such as olives, that use less water.

Despite its size and grow­ing suc­cess, COR remains remark­ably down to earth. We may be the largest,” says Wanket, but we Americans still import 99 per­cent of our olive oil. In the grand scheme of things, we’re still a blip on the map.” COR stands united with the mostly bou­tique pro­duc­ers that make up California’s diverse olive oil indus­try in a shared vision to grow domes­tic pro­duc­tion and edu­cate con­sumers.

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