`Survey Finds Consumers Both Enthused, and Confused, About Olive Oil - Olive Oil Times

Survey Finds Consumers Both Enthused, and Confused, About Olive Oil

Jul. 8, 2014
Julie Butler

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Once peo­ple start using olive oil, they tend to use it a lot, but many find choos­ing one con­fus­ing. Those are among the find­ings from a con­sumer sur­vey of 2,002 adults this year in the United States, which also found var­i­ous myths about olive oil per­sist, includ­ing that color can indi­cate qual­ity.

The 2014 national atti­tude and usage study was run by the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) and co-financed by the International Olive Council (IOC).

According to the IOC’s lat­est newslet­ter, the out­come sug­gests that more than half of those who use olive oil use it more than any other oil, and the over­all trend is toward increased usage.

But more than half (56 per­cent) of olive oil users find choos­ing an olive oil to be con­fus­ing because they are unaware of what fac­tors are impor­tant to con­sider and many myths about olive oil per­sist,” it said.

Respondents widely believed it to be true that:

- the color of olive oil is related to its qual­ity (only 6 per­cent knew this is false);
 — light-tast­ing olive oil has fewer calo­ries than other olive oils (only 16 per­cent knew this is false);
 — like wine, olive oil gets bet­ter with age (only about a quar­ter knew this is false);
 — extra vir­gin olive oil is for cold or raw use only (less than a third knew this is false).

The good news that emerged from the sur­vey is that there are increases in non-tra­di­tional’ areas for olive oil, and those liv­ing in the Midwest and South,” the IOC said.

The full research project included a detailed review of usage habits, fre­quency and trends, chan­nels and pack­ag­ing, knowl­edge and under­stand­ing, media and mes­sage test­ing. NAOOA exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Eryn Balch said insights from the research allow the NAOOA and our mem­bers to bet­ter edu­cate and pro­mote olive oil in ways that effec­tively sup­port increased usage and con­sump­tion in the U.S. Additionally, the data helps mem­bers posi­tion their brands and prod­uct offer­ings and make edu­cated rec­om­men­da­tions to retail­ers regard­ing mer­chan­dis­ing and pro­mo­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties.”

The NAOOA hopes to inves­ti­gate the food­ser­vice chan­nel in more detail next.

The find­ings from the study were shared dur­ing the recent Fancy Food Show in New York City, in a slide pre­sen­ta­tion titled What the American Consumer Really Thinks of Olive Oil.”

Consumers are very recep­tive to sim­ple infor­ma­tion and straight­for­ward mes­sages that give them con­fi­dence to choose which olive oil meets their needs,” Balch said. It is impor­tant for the indus­try to debunk the myths that limit usage occa­sions and instead focus on guid­ing con­sumers how to choose, prop­erly store and use a range of olive oils for max­i­mum value and ben­e­fit.”

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