One of the most interesting aspects of the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo is the product exhibition where attendees have the opportunity to discover emerging trends in the nutrition industry.
Olive oil has been widely recognized as a healthy ingredient for many years now by the scientific community, but for some consumers it may still need a gentle introduction. How does it taste? How do you use it? How many calories does it have? For many, olive oil still remains a “mysterious” ingredient.
This year olive oil had a stronger presence at the conference, and a trend that appeared was: add olive oil to your diet, even if it’s just a little.
Pompeian, established in the U.S. in 1906, was providing samples of their blend of canola oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil called Olivextra, which is promoted for salads, frying and sautéing. Brenda Erwin, director of consumer promotions at Pompeian told Olive Oil Times that extra virgin olive oil is their best seller, however they find that their blends work as a “stepping stone” for people who have not used olive oil before, and may not be used to the flavor. By using the blend, they may eventually progress to adopt olive oil in their diets.
Another olive oil product presented at the conference was a spray called Gourmè Mist — a non-aerosol spray containing only olive oil with no additives or other ingredients. The olive oil is organic extra virgin imported from Italy, Spain, Tunisia or Turkey. Again, here olive oil is promoted in small, controlled amounts. The idea of spraying olive oil on a pan or a salad, instead of pouring it, may be a foreign concept to olive oil producers, culinary professionals and individuals who use this ingredient on a daily basis, but for some consumers a spray may be the way to introduce olive oil to their diets bit by bit.
While these ways of consuming olive oil may not be optimal within the frame of the traditional Mediterranean diet, promoters say they’re a good step forward toward attracting those who might not otherwise give it a try.