Those who are not familiar with EVOO culture usually tend to prefer light, milder flavored olive oil, just like those who taste wine for the first time. This is not a crime because a taste for great oil, just like great wine, is acquired over time: it’s education and culture.
Yet something deeply annoys us and we can’t put a good face on it anymore: while various ranges of quality in wine are rightly recognized, in the olive oil market the communication is so fuzzy that it’s possible to buy a so-called extra virgin olive oil for just 2.99€. That’s unbelievable!
But if we want to talk about it with full knowledge of the facts, from the perspective of olive growers and olive oil producers, a high-quality extra virgin olive oil has to cost at least 8€ per liter. And no, it’s not heresy; it’s math.
Starting with the assumption that it takes eight kilograms of olives to make one liter of olive oil and olives cost 0.88€ per kg — no need to bother Leonhard Euler — the result of this simple multiplication is roughly 8€. All other costs haven’t been taken into account here; nonetheless, we have set a minimum threshold, which is much higher than 2.99€.
For your information, here are examples of additional costs:
soil and plant maintenance costs (fertilization, organic treatments, pruning)
harvesting costs (in our case, it’s manual harvest)
cost of certification (PDO, TGI, Organic)
taxes and duties
The price of olive oil can vary from 3€ to 20€ per liter. When dealing with such a difference in prices, even the most informed consumer might struggle to understand why there are so many different prices for the same product. Well, the answer is simpler than you think: it’s not the same product!
We propose a revolution, a label revolution. Because just as it’s not possible to write Barolo on a bottle of table or mass-market wine, the same should go for olive oils: it shouldn’t be possible to write extra virgin on a bottle of common olive oil.
There are no hard feelings towards common olive oil, we know it’s not necessarily a bad, low-quality product. But extra virgin olive oil, let us tell you, is a whole other story. It is a superior product, just like a grand cru, and it should be presented and marketed as such.
As soon as you put your nose in the glass you will notice that a real extra virgin olive oil smells like freshly pressed olives. It explodes in your mouth just like when you bite an olive: it is bitter on the tongue, then you breathe and cough because it turns spicy and produces a distinctive throat-stinging sensation!
Unfortunately, sensorial and organoleptic features cannot be perceived from a closed bottle on a shelf, and Italian laws do not help much because they currently give a too broad definition of “extra virgin olive oil.”
The consumer then can only trust a crucial and decisive variable: the price!