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
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.