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Olive Oil Times Shares Results of First Readers’ Poll

Olive Oil Times invited 5,000 ‘loyal readers’ among its newsletter subscribers to complete a brief survey in advance of the fourth redesign of the publication since its 2010 debut.

Dec. 21, 2016
By Olive Oil Times Staff

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One-third of reg­u­lar Olive Oil Times read­ers are farm­ers or olive oil pro­duc­ers, accord­ing to the results of a survey by the pub­li­ca­tion in advance of a major redesign planned for early 2017.

Seventy-five per­cent of the nearly 1,400 respon­dents said they were involved in var­i­ous capac­i­ties in the food busi­ness, while 23 per­cent said they were con­sumers and enthu­si­asts.

Olive Oil Times invited 5,000 ‘loyal read­ers’ among its newslet­ter sub­scribers to com­plete the brief survey.

“Since start­ing down this road in 2010, we never really asked read­ers to share their opin­ions about our cov­er­age of this impor­tant topic,” said Curtis Cord, the pub­lisher of Olive Oil Times. “As we pre­pare for our fourth redesign, we thought it was a great time to ask read­ers to tell us what they like, and don’t like about the infor­ma­tion we present and how it is pre­sented, and the feed­back has been immensely help­ful.”

I’d love to see more cov­er­age of small pro­duc­ers and farms.- A reader in Europe

The inter­ac­tive online survey also revealed:

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Sixty-five per­cent of respon­dents said they refer to the online pub­li­ca­tion at least once a week.

Forty-seven per­cent of loyal read­ers said they reg­u­larly access OOT on a mobile device, which is 10 per­cent lower than the site’s over­all mobile read­er­ship, reflect­ing the like­li­hood that reg­u­lar read­ers are more often access­ing the site from work.

Eighty-eight per­cent gave the website’s over­all design a score of 8 or higher on a scale of 0 to 10.

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Seventy-eight per­cent rated the number of arti­cles Olive Oil Times pub­lishes “about right.” 12 per­cent wanted more arti­cles, 10 per­cent said they’d prefer less.

Ninety-one per­cent (1,270 respon­dents) gave a score of 8 or higher, when asked to rate the “trust­wor­thi­ness and cred­i­bil­ity of the infor­ma­tion in Olive Oil Times” on a scale of zero to ten, which Cord said he viewed as the single most impor­tant response of the survey. “I had hoped by this time we had estab­lished trust in our read­ers as an impar­tial source of infor­ma­tion, and I am extremely pleased with that feed­back in par­tic­u­lar,” he said.

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Sixty-one per­cent of respon­dents said they would like to see more arti­cles on “farm­ing and pro­duc­tion,” which ranked the high­est among the cat­e­gories read­ers called for more cov­er­age on.

More than one-third said they would like to see less cov­er­age of cook­ing and recipes, but one-third wanted more.

Seventeen per­cent said they’d like to see more opin­ion arti­cles, while 28 per­cent said they’d like to see less.

Forty-two per­cent said they wanted to see more arti­cles on health and diet, while 15 per­cent would prefer fewer sto­ries on those topics.

Out of five stars, when asked to rate the “rate the infor­ma­tion value of Olive Oil Times,” the aver­age response was 4.31 stars.

Readers were invited to pro­vide sug­ges­tions on the website’s design, the scope of edi­to­r­ial cov­er­age and any­thing else they wanted to say to the edi­to­r­ial team.

“I work in a retail olive oil shop and your pub­li­ca­tion has been very useful in making me more informed and knowl­edge­able,” said a respon­dent in North America.

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“I’d love to see more cov­er­age of small pro­duc­ers and farms,” a European reader sug­gested.

A reader from Asia wrote, “I would be happy to read more about regions like Jordan, Croatia, Israel etc., opin­ions, columns, points of view of chefs, dis­trib­u­tors and other people on the ‘other side’ of the indus­try — the cus­tomers.”

A reader from Europe agreed: “I would like to see more arti­cles about European, North African and other Mediterranean basin olive oils.”

Thirty-eight per­cent of respon­dents said they lived in North America, 36 per­cent live in Europe, 6 per­cent live in Asia, and 6 per­cent live in Australia. South Americans and South Africans each accounted for 3 per­cent of respon­dents.

Six per­cent of read­ers said they use their web browser to trans­late OOT into their pre­ferred lan­guage, but there were few calls for mul­ti­lin­gual ver­sions of the portal.

As far as improve­ments to the web­site’s design and orga­ni­za­tion, the most common responses related to improv­ing nav­i­ga­tion and pro­vid­ing easier access to archived arti­cles.

There were read­ers who said they saw too much cov­er­age of the North American market, while others viewed the pub­li­ca­tion as being overly “Eurocentric.”

Some respon­dents crit­i­cized what they saw as a narrow focus on high-qual­ity olive oils: “Become the arbiter of ALL oils, not just EVOOs,” a North American reader sug­gested, while another reader urged, “you should devote more space to call­ing out frauds.”

There were calls for greater advo­cacy on sev­eral fronts, such as for the pro­tec­tion of endan­gered mil­len­nial trees, and help­ing to pro­mote the prod­ucts of devel­op­ing coun­tries.

“Please cover the old trees and make an effort to pro­tect them,” one reader from Europe urged. “The olive oil from these trees is amaz­ing and yet no one knows about them and the EVOO indus­try wants to get rid of them.”

“You need to con­cen­trate more on areas of growth in the world as opposed to tra­di­tional olive grow­ers. Link farm­ers in these coun­tries with investors,” another reader from Europe sug­gested.

“Give more impor­tance and assis­tance to small pro­duc­ers,” said a reader from Europe. “They are pro­duc­ing the best olive oil with­out mech­a­nisms to pro­mote it.”

Such a diver­gence of views among an inter­na­tional read­er­ship was to be expected, Cord said, and every response would be put to good use as his devel­op­ment team pre­pares for the fourth major design over­haul in seven years. And there were respon­dents who rec­og­nized the bal­ance required of a pub­li­ca­tion that cov­ered an indus­try active on six con­ti­nents.

“I appre­ci­ate that there is a gen­eral source of infor­ma­tion about the olive oil indus­try that comes from a vari­ety of sources from around the world,” a reader from North America wrote. “The vari­ety of topics is great, and is appeal­ing to a broad audi­ence. Keep up the good work!”

Thank you, we will cer­tainly try.