Olive oil has long had a treasured place in the minds and hearts of the many civilizations and cultures throughout the Mediterranean. The Greek poet Homer referred to it as “liquid gold.” But today, it is a premium global commodity treasured on all continents partly for its historical mystique but predominantly for its healthful benefits and seemingly endless culinary uses. In the United States, it is nearing staple status in America’s kitchens. It is also cultivated in more countries throughout the world than ever before. In fact, olive oil may do for California over the next couple of decades what wine did for the state in the latter half of the twentieth century. But, can the U.S. market sustain major domestic production and how much more olive oil can Americans consume?
Though the market for olive oil in the U.S. grew at a CAGR of seven percent between 2004 and 2008, in volume terms growth was more muted. The market had been growing for some time due to U.S. consumers embracing olive oil’s health benefits and culinary versatility, but in recent years showed some signs of nearing market maturity. And with the global economy in a tail spin, growth prospects for olive oil could be cloudy.
Market Trend: Olive Oil in the U.S., 3rd Edition examines these questions and many others by looking at the current market, trends, major marketers and brands, and consumer preferences. The report presents concise, thought provoking analysis of various aspects of the industry and provides a forecast for the market through 2013.
Read an excerpt from this report below.
The information presented in Market Trend: Olive Oil in the U.S., 3rd Edition was obtained from primary and secondary research. Primary research included interviews with industry participants as well as on-site store examinations and reviews of websites, blogs and readers’ comments posted on these sites. Secondary research and data gathering included extensive examination of the trade, business and popular press, of websites as well as company annual reports and various trade association publications.
Packaged Facts market size estimates are partly based on Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) InfoScan Review, which tracks sales through supermarkets drugstores and mass merchandisers (FDM except Wal-Mart). New product introduction figures are published with permission of Product Launch Analytics, a Datamonitor service.
The analysis of consumer behavior and demographics is based on data from the Simmons Market Research Bureau (New York NY) Spring 2008 and Summer 2008 Study of Media and Markets, which is based on the responses of over 20,000 adults age 18 and over.
About the Author
Cogitamus Consulting is a branding and market research boutique in NYC that's all about hard work, imagination and common sense. Working with our clients, we custom tailor solutions and provide creative, thought-provoking analysis that address the most pertinent questions facing marketers, through general business consulting, white papers, and branded product concept and strategy development.
Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
U.S. Mass-Market Brands Focus on Price-Conscious Consumers
While the U.S. olive oil market is essentially an import market, there are some notable U.S. brands that play in the space. The third largest by IRI-tracked sales, Pompeian has been around the longest and is marketed as a mass-market brand for price-conscious consumers. Secaucus, New Jersey-based Goya Foods one of the larger U.S.-based olive oil brands and is positioned and marketed in a similar fashion, as is Star brand olive oil, though it is owned by a Spain-based food company, Borges.
Challenges Ahead from American Oil and Shortening Marketers
These brands are in for a challenge from outside of the traditional olive oil realm. Major American cooking oil and shortening marketers are looking to cash in and halt their declining sales fueled by consumer interest in healthier fats. Brands such as J.M. Smucker’s Crisco and ACH Food’s Mazola introduced olive oil products at low price points in 2005 and 2004, respectively. While growth has been robust—enough for both to crack the top 20 in IRI-tracked sales—they remain far below the sales levels of perennial leaders Filippo Berio and Bertolli—both brands with Italian origins (Bertolli was bought by Spain-based Grupo SOS at the end of 2008). That’s the power of the import aura that olive oil retains within the U.S. market.
California Olive Oil Manufacturing, Branding and Distribution: A Long Way to Go
While California producers (and producers in states such as Texas and Arizona) look to a future as major players in the olive oil market, Packaged Facts believes it will be several years before such producers gain any significant ground. Based on data from the International Olive Oil Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Packaged Facts estimates total U.S. olive oil production has accounted for between 0.1% and 0.4% of total global olive oil production since 2004. For 2008, Packaged Facts estimates it was 0.2% due to weather conditions that hampered the year’s olive crop. So while producers in California may be interesting to watch over the next several years, it will be at least just as long before California even becomes significantly relevant to the U.S. market.
In the News
Culinarily Versatile Olive Oil Parries Recession with Healthy Reputation
New York, April 1, 2009 - Though it hasn’t quite achieved the widespread presence of ketchup or butter in American kitchens just yet, the infinitely more versatile and nutritious olive oil is proving popular with consumers who refuse to skimp on healthy eating while cutting spending in other areas. The heavy media attention olive oil has received for its health benefits has resulted in a growing consumer base eager to pay a higher price for olive oil’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-clotting properties, which result from its rich phenolic compound content that improves blood circulation, destroys disease-producing radicals, and offers cardiovascular benefits.
The desire for such health benefits has led to a noticeable gain in the household penetration of olive oil from 2004 to 2008. According to market research publisher Packaged Facts in the brand-new report, Market Trend: Olive Oil in the U.S., 3rd Edition, estimated total U.S. retail sales of oils and shortening—which includes cooking and salad oils, olive oil, microwave browning/pan sprays, and shortening—grew 16% over the $4.0 billion gained in 2007 to reach $4.6 billion in 2008. Olive oil accounted for an estimated 37% of total dollar sales last year. Retail sales for the U.S. olive oil industry are projected to modestly increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1% to reach $1.8 billion by 2013.
Besides contributing to health and wellness, the olive oil industry benefits from a convergence of market trends that includes sustainability and increasing availability and variety. Research by Packaged Facts indicates that these positive trends will sustain growth in the olive oil industry during the recession as long as strides in other areas are made, such as product safety, labeling, and market outreach.
“There has been a shift in American thinking away from a diet for weight loss and toward a diet for healthy living, which lends a halo effect to olive oil,” says Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts. “Though olive oil won’t be immune from the economic downturn, the oil’s inherent health benefits will be a primary factor responsible for staving off dropping sales and in a better economic future for dramatically increasing preference for olive oil in the U.S.”
Market Trend: Olive Oil in the U.S., 3rd Edition analyzes the market, trends, major marketers and brands, and consumer preferences pertaining to the U.S. market for olive oil. An examination of the market size and projections for future growth are provided, in addition to an in-depth competitive comparison with the larger oils and shortenings market. The report also includes a forecast for the market through 2013, insights into the major challenges and trends affecting the industry, and a comprehensive analysis of consumer usage demographics.
About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.