A seed oil blend now on sale in Spain and soon to launch in the United States under the Carbonell name – usually associated with olive oil – is part of Deoleo’s new generation of products.

Carbonell Olys is 98 percent refined seed oils – soybean, sunflower and grape seed – and 2 percent refined fish oil, with added antioxidants (tocopherol extract and ascorbyl palmitate), thyme extract, and flavorings.

Deoleo, the world’s biggest olive oil bottler, is clearly making a health pitch with the product, which features a heart shape on front and the claims that “essential fatty acids are needed for normal growth and development of children” and “Omega 3 (DHA and EPA) fatty acids contribute to normal cardiac function.”

A side panel says Olys is a nutritious choice ideal for dressing, marinating, frying, stir-frying and stewing food. A 1L bottle was on sale in one Spanish supermarket this week for €2.95 ($4), beside a 1L bottle of Carbonell 0.4 olive oil for €2.99 ($4.05)

The hybrid oils health platform

In November, Deoleo flagged the launch of a new generation of products based on innovation in both its seed oils and olive oils and capitalizing on the fact that “health is the most important trend in food.”

Gregorio Jiménez López, Deoleo’s advisor on strategy and innovation, said then olive oil, as a monounsaturated fat, is healthy as a replacement for butter or saturated fats, but lacks functionalities,” therefore we need to complement it with essential fatty acids, and above all with highly unsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, of the omega 3 DHA type.”

“Fortunately we can incorporate a mix of different oils, that are cheaper than olive oil, because olive oil has a very high price.” Deoleo could therefore not only gain value via the health segment, but “with products that are cheaper because they use cheaper raw materials,” he said, “offering oils of much more nutritional and health value and at a lower price.”

Concern in Spain

But there’s been criticism by some in the Spanish olive oil sector. Olimerca, a Spanish olive oil publication, said “the world leader in olive oil should be also the leading advocate of olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, especially as a good EVOO is infinitely better than any fat product with Omega 3. An olive oil brand with wide consumer recognition should not be used for marketing seed oil, especially to avoid confusion,” it said.

The Spanish Association of Municipalities of the Olive Tree (AEMO) said on its Facebook page that Deoleo was making a “resounding mistake.” “Does Carbonell, world leader in olive oil sales, really need to launch a seed and fish oil product?” AEMO also queried use of the word ‘Olys’ given its closeness to the Latin root ‘olea,’ meaning olive.

Cereal and fruit oil blend and a rice oil

Deoleo CEO Jaime Carbó said this week the company is investing heavily in marketing, particularly in the U.S. and Italy, and its new products will soon be launched in Germany, the U.S. and Brazil.

Olys is already on sale in Holland, where on Carbonell’s Dutch web site it joins a rice oil and a cereal and fruit oils blend under “New healthy Carbonell oils”. An Olys cereal and fruit oil – blending wheat germ, corn, rice bran, walnut and blackcurrant oils – has been marketed under fellow Deoleo-owned label Carapelli in Italy and under Carbonell in New Zealand.

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