Business

Reimagining Olive Oil for Millennials

Olive oil has been used for generations, but two brands are interpreting the food for young buyers looking to purchase simple, honest products in and out of the kitchen.

Jul. 11, 2019
By William Cohn

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Mil­len­ni­als, widely defined as peo­ple born between 1981 and 1996, are rapidly becom­ing a larger and more impor­tant bloc of con­sumers in the United States and around the rest of the world.

The World Data Lab fore­casts that mil­len­ni­als will soon have the most global spend­ing power of any pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion. In gen­eral, mil­len­ni­als dif­fer in the ways in which they choose to spend their incomes. This has led to vastly dif­fer­ent spend­ing habits than in pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions and has caused busi­nesses to adapt.

Olive oil pro­duc­ers and sell­ers are no excep­tion. From cre­at­ing eco-friendly health prod­ucts made from olive oil to rebrand­ing in order to attract new demo­graph­ics, pro­duc­ers and sell­ers are seek­ing ways to get the atten­tion of mil­len­ni­als and their wal­lets.

When I thought about my future, I wanted to do some­thing inno­v­a­tive and out­side-of-the-box. There are so many ways to pro­duce olive oil and not in the ways that have been done for the last 100 years.- Lucrezia Del Papa, owner Olivella

Olives [and olive oil] are ancient but there is still a lot of inno­va­tion and a lot of dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties,” said Lucrezia Del Papa on the phone from Rome, Italy. Her busi­ness, Olivella, cre­ates skin­care and beauty prod­ucts with an empha­sis on nat­ural ingre­di­ents and envi­ron­men­tal con­scious­ness.

Del Papa, who grew up with olive oil for three gen­er­a­tions, took her family’s back­ground in trad­ing the prod­uct to cre­ate a brand tar­geted at mil­len­ni­als. Olivella does this by focus­ing on trends in brand­ing that appeal the most to this demo­graphic, such as sus­tain­abil­ity and min­i­mal­ism, turn­ing an every­day food into a must-have in anybody’s beauty arse­nal.

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I feel like, for my gen­er­a­tion, there is always a ques­tion in the mid­dle – am I being good to the envi­ron­ment so I can look good, or because these prod­ucts can help my com­mu­nity and my future? Do I really believe what I sup­port?” Del Papa asked.

See more: Sus­tain­abil­ity News

The answer to this ques­tion lies in the way Olivella prod­ucts are pro­duced, using sim­ple ingre­di­ents that do not harm the envi­ron­ment to make gen­der­less prod­ucts in clean pack­ag­ing that every­body can feel com­fort­able using.

There is a clear evi­dence that mil­len­ni­als care about the envi­ron­ment,” Del Papa said. Clear evi­dence that if there is a prod­uct that does right by the envi­ron­ment and is not harm­ful when com­pared to a generic prod­uct of the same cost, they will choose the more nat­ural option.”

Olivella offers 35 prod­ucts, from mois­tur­iz­ers to body creams to lip roll-ons, made in Italy with ingre­di­ents that are 100 per­cent nat­ural. One of the most out­stand­ing aspects of the line is that no prod­uct has vir­gin olive oil added later. Rather, the prod­ucts are made directly from it, along with the by-prod­ucts cre­ated through the refin­ing process. Veg­etable oil is also used in place of typ­i­cal ani­mal fat.

One of the main goals for Del Papa and the brand was to achieve max­i­mum effi­ciency to adhere to a zero-waste pol­icy. One exam­ple is Olivella’s bar soap.

Dur­ing the refin­ing process, you have fatty acids and by-prod­ucts,” Del Papa said. We ana­lyzed all the prop­er­ties of the oil and thought of a way to reuse all the olive oil that was going to be wasted or sold in bulk to other com­pa­nies that would opti­mize the food pro­duc­tion process. So, we devel­oped the bar soap.”

Del Papa is con­fi­dent that the beauty indus­try will soon begin to offer more sub­sti­tutes for less envi­ron­men­tally-con­scious ingre­di­ents dom­i­nat­ing the mar­ket today. But for now, Olivella is focused on the strong pur­chas­ing power of mil­len­ni­als to buy nat­ural olive-oil based alter­na­tives to their favorite cos­met­ics.

When I thought about my future, I wanted to do some­thing inno­v­a­tive and out­side-of-the-box,” Del Papa said. There are so many ways to pro­duce olive oil and not in the ways that have been done for the last 100 years.”

Not only do mil­len­ni­als tend to look for dif­fer­ent types of value from their prod­ucts, but they also show a lesser degree of brand loy­alty than pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions. Olive oil pro­duc­ers have also taken note of this and are design­ing their prod­ucts accord­ingly.

We found out that nine out of 10 peo­ple, espe­cially mil­len­ni­als, did not have a pref­er­ence for olive oil brands in the United States. They would buy what­ever was on the shelf,” Isaac Valdez, CEO of Cat­alo­nia Olive Oil Inc, told Olive Oil Times.

The com­pany wanted to cre­ate a prod­uct that was min­i­mal­ist, high-qual­ity, and afford­able. That is where its extra vir­gin olive oil comes in, made solely from Arbe­quina olives in the region of Siu­rana in Cat­alo­nia, Spain. Tak­ing cues from other mil­len­nial-suc­cess­ful brands such as Halo Top ice cream, Valdez and his team devel­oped a firm under­stand­ing of what the olive oil indus­try was miss­ing.

We wanted to make sure that we had the right prod­uct,” he said. We tested the mar­ket and talked to dozens and dozens of chefs, food­ies, restau­rant own­ers, and blog­gers. A lot of those peo­ple have now become our brand ambas­sadors.”

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One of those ambas­sadors is Sindy Lazo, win­ner of the first Mas­terChef Latino com­pe­ti­tion. Lazo and Cat­alo­nia Oliva Pura have also turned to the Latino mar­ket in the United States to reach mil­len­ni­als in a demo­graphic long-under­rep­re­sented in generic super­mar­kets.

The Latino mar­ket in the United States has typ­i­cally been pegged as hav­ing lower-end, cheaper prod­ucts,” Valdez said. You would go to super­mar­kets and see a His­panic or Latino aisle, or you would have Latino-ori­ented mar­kets.”

But from a brand stand­point, the new gen­er­a­tion of Lati­nos does not feel like that. They are not cheap and are edu­cated enough to know that a lot of the cheaper prod­ucts are harm­ful to them,” he con­tin­ued.

Three out of the five part­ners at Cat­alo­nia Oliva Pura are mil­len­ni­als, and they are reach­ing con­sumers in their own demo­graphic with a com­pet­i­tively-priced prod­uct. Valdez went on to say that sim­i­lar olive oils could retail for $14 or $15, whereas the typ­i­cal mil­len­nial con­sumer has got­ten com­fort­able pay­ing $6 to $8 for a 16 ounce bot­tle.

Under­stand­ing what mil­len­ni­als, and mil­len­nial Lati­nos wanted, Valdez and his team priced their extra vir­gin olive oil at $8.99 with sim­ple pack­ag­ing that the tar­get demo­graphic grav­i­tates toward. We stripped the label down to the basics, went with a bot­tle that was not too fancy, and took away the cork,” Valdez said.

But mak­ing mil­len­nial con­sumers rethink olive oil also meant that the brand’s labels needed to be mean­ing­ful. Cat­alo­nia Oliva Pura has done this with the usage of phrases such as I am extra vir­gin” on its bot­tles and Not fake” on its t‑shirts.

I think that mil­len­ni­als who are now more edu­cated and have access to more sources of infor­ma­tion have the abil­ity to really do their research before they con­sume any­thing, and that is where we come in,” Valdez said. We really want to present an alter­na­tive in olive oil.”





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