How to navigate an industry of deceptive labels. 

Sponsored by Columbus Vegetable Oils

Olive oil is a staple ingredient in traditional Italian cuisine, including pizza. It brings a unique and rich flavor profile to crusts, sauces, and toppings. Its fruity, slightly peppery taste can enhance the overall flavor of the pizza. Highlighting olive oil in pizza recipes can be a selling point for pizza restaurants, especially for customers who appreciate quality ingredients and authentic flavors. 

One of the main issues pizza operators run into with authentic extra virgin olive oil is price. According to YCHARTS, the price of olive oil has increased by 65.42 percent since March 2023. This increase is due to abnormally dry seasons in Mediterranean countries, making it tough for olive trees to thrive, resulting in fewer olives and higher prices.

While this premium product is still found on grocery shelves, the real challenge for pizza operators and other consumers lies not just in the cost but in ensuring the quality matches the high expectations associated with authentic olive oil.

“There are malicious players in the industry blending olive oil with cheaper oils like soybean or sunflower oil to increase profits,” says Rick Cummisford, director of quality at Columbus Vegetable Oil. “It compromises the quality and authenticity of the product. Genuine blends of olive oil with other oils exist and are labeled as such, offering consumers a cost-effective option without deception. However, when olive oil is diluted without proper labeling, it deceives consumers and they will pay a premium price for a low-quality blend.” 

For nearly 90 years, Columbus Vegetable Oil, a fourth-generation family-owned business, has been delivering trustworthy and high-quality oils. Columbus Vegetable Oil ensures the quality of olive oil through testing protocols upon receipt and during packaging, focusing on freshness as peroxide value and industry-standard tests such as fatty acid profile and phytosterol content to maintain product integrity.

“From conventional to non-GMO and organic, we bring in over 200 different types of food-grade oils,” Cummisford says. “It gives us the strength to make any blend of oil that we and our customers can come up with.” 

Oil blends allow operators to use olive oil at a cheaper price and still benefit from the flavor. “The cost of extra virgin olive oil is so high right now,” Cummisford says. “It restricts pizzerias from using it how they want. Operators can get the best of both worlds by blending it with another inexpensive oil, while the blend being properly labeled and priced accordingly.”  

Operators have the flexibility to create unique flavors tailored to their restaurants. From economical options like soybean and sunflower oil, which have a neutral flavor, to more quality choices like olive and corn oil blends.

Columbus Vegetable Oil’s expertise ensures any blend of oil a client wants can be recreated. Its state-of-the-art facility thoroughly tests the blends to understand their composition and meticulously replicates them, ensuring an identical match for its customers. 

Whether a large chain restaurant or a local pizzeria Columbus Vegetable Oil provides consistent quality and service. “We’ll serve a customer who needs one pallet at a time or a full truckload,” Cummisford says. “We pride ourselves on service and being able to support every customer.”

Start using oil you can trust; visit for more information. 

By Olivia Schuster 

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