(Press Release) Neptune, NJ, June 28, 2012–Since 1989, the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) has worked to inform consumers and professionals in the retail and food service industries about the taste, versatility and health benefits of olive oil, and uphold olive oil quality across the industry. A trade organization representing olive oil marketers, packagers and importers in the United States, Canada and their respective suppliers abroad, the NAOOA also tests olive oils for quality and authenticity.
“Our goal is to promote the benefits and uses of olive oil, and work to ensure that quality olive oil is available to North American consumers,” says Eryn Balch, executive vice president, North American Olive Oil Association. “We also want to inform consumers and food industry professionals about how olive oil is a healthier choice than many other types of oil, and that it can be used in a variety of ways.”
Balch is an olive oil industry veteran, having worked at Sovena USA, a NAOOA-member company and one of the largest importers of olive oil in the United States, prior to coming to the NAOOA in January 2012. In her new role with the NAOOA, she is initially focused on education for the retail and foodservice industries, as well as expanding the association’s quality control programs.
The NAOOA has a variety of educational tools available for its member organizations and buyers and foodservice professionals within the industry. Among them is a new buying and merchandising guide, which offers ideas for retailers about how to promote olive oil at pertinent times of the year, where to place product for the highest purchase potential, and how to preserve the integrity of olive oil in a retail setting. And, a refreshed website (www.aboutoliveoil.org) offers a host of easy-to-reference, accessible educational materials for consumers and trade professionals, including recipes and tips on how to store olive oil properly.
“Today, buyers and consumers are much more informed about the benefits and uses of olive oil than they were when our organization was created. And they want to understand the flavor, versatility and health benefits of olive oil in greater depth,” says Balch. “We’re focused on continuing to develop tools and foster partnerships to help industry professionals and consumers fully realize the potential of olive oil for culinary purposes, as well as its role in a healthy diet.”
The United States is the third-largest olive oil consuming country in the world, accounting for about 9 percent of global olive oil consumption (behind Italy at 21 percent and Spain at 19 percent). However, in terms of consumption per capita, there is room for growth. Greeks consume more than 24 liters per person per year of olive oil; followed by the Spanish and Italians, averaging 15 and 13 liters per person per year respectively. Further down the spectrum, Americans consume only about 1 liter of olive oil per person per year, with Canadians consuming 1.5 liters per person per year.
Education is the key to capitalizing on this growth potential in North America.
“Our main goal at the NAOOA is to inform those in the retail and foodservice sectors about olive oil by presenting facts and useful information about the industry and dispelling common myths,” says Balch. “By educating industry influencers we are also educating consumers, and increasing everyone’s understanding of the incredible health properties, versatility and flavor of olive oil. This outreach will be vital to increasing consumption of olive oil and encouraging healthier lifestyles.”
For more information on the NAOOA and access to educational materials about olive oil, visit