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Cooking and specialty oils are two of the most lucrative categories in grocery—so long as they are properly
stocked and promoted. BY ARIELLE SIDRANE
OIL THE RAGE
THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT VEGETABLES ARE TRENDING. Vegetable oil? Not so much. Consumers looking to improve their health and wellness through
their diets are seeking cooking oil options
that align with these goals. Those that provide health benefits—like olive oil—give consumers a reason to reach into their wallets.
According to the North American Olive Oil
Association (NAOOA), based in Neptune,
N.J., olive oil dominates the pourable oil category with a 37 percent share.
Industry observers largely attribute the shift
away from refined cooking oils to the changing
consumer demographic—specifically, the rise
of the Millennial generation as the core group
of shoppers. In order to appeal to this new wave
consumer, manufacturers and retailers know
they must skillfully promote a product’s health
and wellness virtues.
“I think that is really the rallying cry. The
oil industry, or the industry in general, has
to really understand the future of market-
ing in the U.S., and the largest population in
the future will be the Millennials,” says Bill
Monroe, president of Pompeian, based in
Baltimore. “They have to understand their
A study done by the NAOOA on consumer
attitudes and usage habits outlined that con-
sumers are actively seeking the health benefits
provided by olive oil. The sales success of olive
oil shows that consumers do understand it to
be a healthy choice, and the fact that olive oil
contains good fats and cancer-fighting poly-
phenols is well documented.
The same study noted versatility of uses is
also a priority. What some consumers may not
know is that olive oil is safe and effective to
use for high heat cooking like frying and sautéing—it can even be used for baking. Its wide
variety of potential uses makes it a product
that can be promoted to a wide array of consumers in store.
“Grocers need to think about why they
aren’t promoting olive oils to more of a cooking oil customer,” says David Neuman, CEO of