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The past few years has seen a sea change within the oils sector, with traditional olive oil now jostling for space with a number of ‘alternative’ options. Brands are bringing forward oils from the likes of the coconut, avocado and a whole host of exoti sounding seeds – Sachi Inchi Oil, anyone? (by Lucy Bee) – and consumers are increasingly looking out for the health credentials of the oils they’re buying. They’re also becoming aware of the negative implications of cooking with oil; fried foods are increasingly being overlooked in favour of healthier options, which gives oils with great natural flavour an opportunity to shine.
According to Mintel’s UK Yellow Fats & Edible Oils Report, consumers often associate olive oil in particular with words such as “pure”, “healthy” and “flavoursome” – giving independents an opportunity to differentiate their offering with the blander vegetable and sunflower oils available in supermarkets.
The different oils available on the market offer retailers a chance to educate their customers on how to use oils, which ones work best for which purposes, and which partner well with other food and drink. Your international section could get a flavourful boost from sesame oil, for instance, a nutty finishing oil perfect for drizzling on stir fries or adding to homemade Asian dressings. A great olive oil can be used to finish a filled pasta dish, or partnered with a quality balsamic vinegar for a simple salad dressing. It can even be utilised in baking and desserts, as exemplified by La Ibense Bornay’s popular olive oil ice cream, often adding a lightness compared with those made using dairy products.
To read the rest of the article, download the May issue here and turn to p.26.
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