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.
The interactive online survey also revealed:
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.
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.
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.
“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.