Premium olive oil preferred choice for older consumers in UK

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 23rd December 2014
Premium olive oil preferred choice for older consumers in UK
Premium olive oil preferred choice for older consumers in UK

The market for olive oil is the fastest growing in the oil and fats market in the UK, and has the potential to appeal to those aged  55 and over due to its age-aligned benefits, according to market research organisation Canadean.

Older Britons account for one third of oil consumption

The UK’s oil and fats market is valued at £420 million and is forecasted to grow further. Older consumers aged 55 and above consume 33.6 per cent of oils by volume, which is at least twice as much as any other demographic group.

As the UK’s population is aging and UK consumers are living longer, the influence of consumers who are over 55 years old will further increase, according to Canadean.

Oil consumption driven by the desire for individualism and value for money

The UK’s older population consume oil as they desire better value for money, and the functional benefits of oils, according to Canadean.

Canadean said that to raise value of the product and appeal to older consumers, manufacturers would need to tap into motivators that are important to this age group, such as “looking for individualism”.

“This need is driving rapid growth in olive oil consumption, which also helps older consumers tailor their cooking to meet their specific nutritional needs,” said Safwan Kotwal, Analyst at Canadean. “The elderly tend to be more concerned about their health and will seek oils that have less “harmful” ingredients such as cholesterol and trans fat,” he said.

Increasing demand for olive oil from older generation

Currently, olive oil holds 16.3 per cent of the oils market by volume, but is surpassed by vegetable and sunflower oils which account for two-thirds of the market, according to Canadean.

However, across all categories, olive oil is expected to register the highest growth driven by its nutritional benefits and the perception of olive oil being a premium food ingredient.

“These advantages make this product attractive to 55+ consumers,” Mr Kotwal said. “As they get older, they become more concerned about what they eat. Also, more leisure time and the habit of scratch-cooking means they are prepared to seek out the best ingredients,” he said.

To further promote olive oil among older consumers, Canadean said manufacturers would need to emphasise age-aligned benefits. According to Canadean, manufacturers should position their product as an accompaniment to healthy and youthful lifestyles, as opposed to focusing on the vulnerabilities of older consumers.

In 2014, Australian Food News has reported on studies that have showed the benefits of olive oil. Australian Food News reported in October 2014 that the most recent study from the Chicago College of Medicine at the University of Illinois had found that oleate, a common dietary fat found in olive oil, may restore proper metabolism of fuel in heart cells.

Australian olive oil opportunity

The desire for premium olive oil in the UK may prove to be a big opportunity for Australian olive oil producers.

Predictions have been reported that the olive oil industries in Italy and Spain may see an 85 per cent decline in production because of crop damage from fruit fly in those countries. Prices for Italian and Spanish olive oil have soared in the latter half of 2014, because of dwindling supplies.

The cheaper Australian dollar which has fallen dramatically against the USD, and against other currencies, will make Australian olive oil much more affordable for importers in European markets. The Australian oils have won world acclaim in international competitions. Most recently Victorian-based olive oil company Cobram was awarded a Gold Medal and Best of Class Trophy at the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition for its Cobram Estate Classic Australian-grown Extra Virgin olive oil.

In Australia, table olive oil production for the 2013 season was an estimated 2,500 tonnes, with a Gross Value of Production of around AU$7.5 million. In 2011-2012, Australia exported olive oil to 19 countries, including New Zealand (40 per cent), Greece (22 per cent), China (7 per cent), Papua New Guinea (5 per cent), United Arab Emirates (5 per cent), Indonesia (4 per cent), Japan (3 per cent), and Singapore (3 per cent).