`Report: Spanish Consumers Know Very Little About Olive Oil - Olive Oil Times

Report: Spanish Consumers Know Very Little About Olive Oil

May. 9, 2012
Pandora Penamil Penafiel

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Although Spain is the lead­ing global pro­ducer and olive oil is one of the most emblem­atic sym­bol of its cul­ture and culi­nary iden­tity, the level of knowl­edge of olive oils among span­ish con­sumers is quite low.

This fol­lows from a study writ­ten by Francisco Jose Torres-Ruiz, Manuela Vega, Zamora and Maria Gutierrez-Salcedo from University of Jaén on the degree of knowl­edge of olive oil in Spain, obtained through two empir­i­cal inves­ti­ga­tions.

According to the study, less than 30 per­cent of reg­u­lar olive oil con­sumers know that the olive oil” grade is a mix­ture of vir­gin olive oil and refined olive oil. The basic prob­lem is that the degree of knowl­edge affects the demand for dif­fer­ent types of olive oils and their mar­ket prices, the authors said.

Besides that, con­sid­er­ing that con­sumers have dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria to com­pare, eval­u­ate and choose between options, the con­fu­sion regard­ing the dif­fer­ent types of oils, the qual­ity cri­te­ria and dis­tin­guish­ing fea­tures thereof, may be trans­lated in other keys that clearer and more objec­tive, such as price, that is more influ­en­tial in the choice of each prod­uct.

In this con­text, the big dis­ad­van­taged” are the high­est qual­ity oils, in par­tic­u­lar the so-called super pre­mium” extra vir­gins, as the mar­ket does not under­stand what what makes them dif­fer­ent and why they cost so much more than oth­ers.

The con­fu­sion not only affects higher qual­ity olive oil demand and over­all mar­gins in the sec­tor, but also weighs on the com­pe­ti­tion between olive oil with other veg­etable oils, with impli­ca­tions for global demand for olive oil and its higher price lev­els.

In addi­tion, researchers indi­cated that not men­tion­ing the clear dif­fer­ences between the extra vir­gin olive oils and olive oils means devalu­ing every juice to a plain edi­ble oil. In this sense, it seems nec­es­sary to pro­vide the con­sumers with an inten­sive process of dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and eval­u­a­tion of olive oils

To do this, the study pro­poses to change the pol­i­tics of names, which so far has been con­fus­ing. It rec­om­mends an offi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion by the gov­ern­ments and bod­ies rep­re­sent­ing the indus­try, directed to con­sumers and focused on high­light­ing the dif­fer­ent types of olive oils while offer­ing clues to assess, dif­fer­en­ti­ate and fos­ter informed choices between the var­i­ous cat­e­gories.

Simplicity and clar­ity must be two impor­tant goals in this com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the researchers said.


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