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Germany does not have an association of olive oil importers or suppliers. Contact points especially for
small producers and exporters interested in the German market are the embassies and consulates of their countries.
The departments of foreign trade of the embassies conduct market studies and have an important role in the
information flows between the producers and the German buyers.
Exporters can also approach potential customers in Germany through direct (e-)mail with follow-up through
personal visits or invitations of potential customers to visit in their country. They may also meet with potential
buyers by visiting international trade fairs.
Most of the olive oil sold in Germany is sold under a private label, such as Primadonna (by discounter chain Lidl), El Cantinelle and Cucina (by Aldi Süd), Casa Morando (by Aldi Nord), Aro (by Metro Cash & Carry), REWE Feine Welt and ja! (by REWE), and Edeka and Gut&Günstig (by Edeka). Most private label oils are blends from different origins. Independent brands include Bertolli and Carapelli (Italian), Mazola (Spanish origin by Peter Kölln), Minerva, Minos and Jordan (Greek), Ybarra (Spanish) and La Española (by Feinkost Dittmann). You can also find alternative products using the Codecheck website or application and check available products in supermarkets on SupermarktCheck.
As the largest market in Europe for organic products, Germany provides opportunities for suppliers of organic olive oil. A large share of organic olive oils in Germany are sold under private label brands of specialized organic retailers, such as Denn’s, Alnatura, Basic, Bio Company, ebl-Naturkost and Super Biomarkt. Leading retail chains also have their own organic private labels.
Rapunzel, Ölmühle Solling and Henry Lamotte Oils are examples of specialized companies that deal with organic, fair trade and high quality olive oil. Consider such companies for potential partnerships.
More olive oil companies in Germany can be found on EUROPAGES, WLW and Organic Bio (for organic olive oil). LinkedIn can be used to look up and contact professionals who work at companies in Germany specialized in olive oil. Organic Bio is an international directory of organic food wholesale and supply companies with a section on olive oil in Germany. Information about olive oil companies in Germany can also be found on webpages specialized in exhibitions, trade fairs, F&B events and competitions such as Anuga (leading trade fair for worldwide food and beverages, which is held biannually in Cologne, Germany), BIOFACH (fair for organic and natural products, which is held annually in Nuremberg, Germany), Olive Oil Market.
In a survey conducted in 2019 (http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su12166379) on a sample of 705 German and 175 British consumers of olive oil, three consumer segments were identified. These three segments differed significantly with regard to purchase and consumption patterns, as well as attitudes toward the extrinsic, intrinsic, sensorial, and health attributes of olive oil. The main preferences of the German respondents related to health properties of olive oil, followed by hedonic attributes; therefore, these aspects should be focused on in marketing strategies of olive oil in German markets.
The main official body in Germany dealing with questions regarding olive oil is the information agency of olive oil (Informationsgemeinschaft Olivenöl). Its main objective is the promotion of olive oil consumption in Germany. It mostly addresses issues related to quality and nutrition. It undertakes seminars, presentations and consulting services with the aim of making the special characteristics of olive oil, the different qualities and the factors that influence it, well known to the consumers. Together with the German olive oil panel (Deutsches Olivenöl Panel) it organizes sensory test groups for the examination of the quality of olive oil.
Make sure that you meet the sensory (organoleptic) properties of olive oil as demanded in Europe if you intend to market blended olive oils as a branded consumer product. In Northern Europe, including Germany, olive oil blends have a mild organoleptic profile (not too strong, not too weak). Develop expertise and skills in terms of blending and quality control to ensure that you can offer oils with this profile consistently all-year-round.
The harmony value (also called balance) is used in Germany and other neighboring countries as a discrimination factor for extra virgin olive oils to rate them as bad, average, good, very good, and of premium quality. It was accredited by the German authorities as part of the official national organoleptic assessment process in 2015, while it remains an unofficial parameter for the rest of the continent. Since then, it has evolved into an important factor for importers of olive oil in Germany and other German-speaking countries.
Every successful olive oil brand has a noticeable aesthetic apparent in brand messaging, online presence, the packaging and the labels. The packaging is the first thing that customers see on the shelf, that is, the first impression of the olive oil brand. Thus, the perception of ‘high quality’ begins with the bottle which is central in the brand’s marketing strategy.
It is important to develop a strong marketing story for your olive oil, especially if you want to enter the market for specialty oils. Positioning your brand as unique is critical in such a competitive industry, and the best to do so is with a personal narrative, which is much more than facts and data. This can cover the origin of the olive oil (including elements of producing communities), the production methods (especially if they are traditional), the ingredients (what they add to the product) and environmental and social impact (substantiated with certificates).
Promote the various applications and nutritional properties of olive oil, which are backed by scientific evidence. A good idea is to test your olive oil for its content of polyphenols, which are specifically connected to the health benefits of olive oil.
If your olive oil brand has a promotional website make sure it is mobile-friendly, it is optimized for Google (Search Engine Optimization - SEO) and it is straightforward and easy to navigate. You can also opt for paid advertising to increase visibility of your website and consider the retarget option. Another option is to generate organic traffic from content which could be increased through email marketing, blogs (such as free recipes and engaging video tutorials), and SEO-optimized website.
A strong social media presence is essential for a business nowadays. Work on posting regularly using consistent branding and information across social media platforms using linked profiles. Be creative in your posts by running contests or giving cooking advice to keep users engaged. Use Facebook to interact with customers, advertise promotions and help locate nearest retail store with your product. Use Instagram to showcase your olive oil in an attractive photo or a useful video and to partner with influencer chefs.
Check the websites of European trade shows and exhibitions to discover the newest trends. The most important trade fair in Germany for olive oil trends and trade are Anuga and BioFach. If you produce organic olive oil, consider participating in specific organic food and olive oil events and competitions, most importantly the world’s largest organic event, Biofach in Germany. It is also important to have a distributor. Promoting olive oil without being able to distribute it in the target market may harm sales. Participate in international competitions if you aim to place your olive oil in the premium segment. You can find the list of award-winning olive oils from international competitions at the EVOO World Ranking. When choosing a competition, select those that have respected, reliable and independent judges. Consider placing a label on your olive oil showing where the olive oil was tested and by what panel. This may provide a strong competitive advantage, because it is not frequently done.