Saturday, March 28, 2009

Internet Interest in Olive Oil

Worldwide searches

Analysing the search terms used through search engines has become an important tool in gauging the interest in in products and the effect of media campaigns.

Google analytics have tracked the interest in various search permutations of olive oil since 2004 with interesting results. The interest is measured on a scale of 0-100. The worldwide search for 'olive oil' remained flat around the 80 mark until mid-2008 and since then has climbed steadily to around 95.

The searches are also divided into categories; for olive oil the most important categories are Food and Drink (50-75%), Health (10-25%) and Beauty and Personal Care (10-25%). The percentage indicates the perceptions of uses according to the searchers. With the emphasis on the health aspects of olive oil, it is surprising that this category does not rate higher.

The search for 'extra virgin olive oil' followed the same pattern with a score of 60 from 2004 with a steady rise from early 2008 to the current 90. Significantly, the Health category only recorded 0-10% interest, less than for olive oil. This could be interpreted as the consumer not getting the message about the health attributes of extra virgin olive oil.

The analysis of the regional interest shown in extra virgin over the last 5 years has Singapore top with a score of 100, USA second with 98 and Australia third with 74. New Zealand ranks number 8 with a score of 54.

Australian and New Zealand Searches

In Australia, the search for 'extra virgin olive oil' showed a steady decline from when it first registered with adequate traffic in late 2004 with a score of 80. The steady decline continued to late 2007 when it hit a low of just above 20. During 2008, traffic increased with a spike reaching 100 at the time of the publicity surrounding supermarket olive oils in October. Since then interest has abated to just above 60, 20 below the 2004 level.

Analysis of the searches by State shows the highest interest is in Victoria with a rating of 100, then New South Wales at 80 and Queensland with 57. The other States did not rate - probably a reflection of their smaller populations.

New Zealanders don't search enough for 'extra virgin olive oil' to register a score. 'Olive oil' does register and, following wild fluctuations in 2004 and 2005, has settled to a steady 50. There is a spike to 70 in early 2009, probably related to coverage given to the judging of the 2008 Olives NZ olive oil competition. The main interest comes from Wellington with a score of 100, then Auckland 95, Taranaki 86 and Canterbury 81.

The internet search analytics are a useful tool to gauge the impact of promotions and industry publicity - both positive and negative. Having lifted the interest back to 2004 levels, the challenge for the Australian industry is to commit the resources to sustain the renewed interest. For New Zealand, the challenge is to generate more traffic searching for olive oil.

Simon Field
Olive Business

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Import Prices Continue to Rise

The price (customs value) of imports of virgin olive oil into Australia continued to rise during February. The average price of packaged virgin olive oil was $6.21/litre, up 7% on January 2009 and 23% on November 2008.

The average bulk virgin olive oil decreased from the January figure to $5.04/litre, down 20%, and down 6% on the November 2008 figure.

After three years of steady decline from a high of around 4 Euros/kg in January 2005, the price of extra virgin olive oil has started to even out around 2 Euros/kg, or approximately $4.40/litre.

The increase in the import price and the reduction in value of the Australian dollar relative to that of importing countries in Europe and the US should favour an increase in sales of local product in Australia and an increase in exports. However, this positive outlook may be dampened by the general reduction in retail spending and a switch to cheaper cooking oils.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Imported olive oil prices take a hike

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Prices of virgin olive oil imported into Australia continue their upward trend according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

The imported price of packaged virgin olive oil reached $5.78/litre, an increase of $1.24/ litre over December and 13% above previous the highest price this financial year in August. The price of bulk virgin olive oil followed the trend and remained higher than packaged olive oil.

The price hike is probably caused by a number of factors, including the lower Australian $ exchange rate with the Euro and the switch from older olive oils being sold off in the last four months of 2008 to new season oils from the Northern Hemisphere coming on the market early in 2009.

Imported olive oil customs value (cv) in Australian $ per litre


Virgin olive oil packaged

Virgin olive oil bulk






















Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics data

Olive Business