When looking for an olive oil manufacturer, it can feel like fumbling in the dark. It's vital for your business that you work with a supplier who can help take care of all of your needs.
This is why we've compiled a shortlist of all of the things that we think you should expect — as a bare minimum — from your olive oil supplier. This applies whether you are searching for a new vendor or if you've been working with one for years. Making sure that you're working with an olive oil manufacturer who checks off on these four things will help keep your supply chain flowing smoothly.
What Exactly Is A Bulk Olive Oil Manufacturer?
Let's begin with a quick definition just so that we are all on the same page. There are technically two types of olive oil manufacturers: those that produce the oil in the large cooperative mills overseas, and those that manufacture the bulk olive oil products.
The latter of these — the manufacturer of bulk olive oil products who are the ones that take the oil from bulk tanks and cargo ships and package into drums, totes, and food-service sizes — these are the majority of the domestic US suppliers available. It's most likely that as a US manufacturing or distribution company, you will be working with this type of supplier. So for this discussion, that's what we will be focusing on.
4 Things Your Olive Oil Manufacturer Should Always Be
You should be able to ask lots of questions, and your supplier should be able to not only answer them but also provide some advice. Wondering what grade of oil is best for your new product? Trying to figure out how to cut the cost of your ingredients by switching to a larger packaging size?
Your supplier should listen to your issues at hand and then provide their own background experience and knowledge to point you in the right direction. Otherwise it's not a real partnership, right?
If you have lots of questions about your sourcing process, we'd recommend checking out our Bulk Olive Oil Library. Alternatively, if you prefer to have this sort of information delivered to your inbox, we'd suggest subscribing to our Bulk Oil Blog.
Competitive With Prices, But Not Necessarily The Lowest
Your supplier's prices should be competitive with the current market. It is part of their responsibility to source competitively priced quality oil so that they can pass along the reasonable rates to you. You will need to be informed about the current market to see where it is. Comparing their current price to the one that you got last year is not an adequate comparison.
If they happen to have the lowest price on bulk olive oil by a long shot, raise your eyebrows. In situations like that, you should be asking them questions about why their oil price is so much lower than the competition. What you've heard in the news is right: olive oil adulteration exists, and this issue is prevalent and real. Extremely low prices could be an indication that your olive oil might be mixed with lower quality oil. Just do your homework and make sure that you work with a supplier who you really can trust.
Want to learn more about how Centra Foods combats adulteration issues in the market? Read more about our industry leading olive oil testing program.
Things always seem to go wrong when you are a purchasing manager or a business owner; shipments come in late, packaging is damaged in transit. It's still unfortunate, but its a part of your job. Neither side (you or your supplier) wants things like that to happen. However, it seems like they will happen regardless.
The best way to handle situations like this as they arise is to work with a supplier that is responsive to you. That means if something goes wrong or you need additional paperwork, they'll answer your email or phone call. That means it won't take them a week to get back to you to start working on the issue. Partnering with someone available and responsive is just a basic need for any business.
That said, make sure that you give them a little bit of slack. Your account manager may be in meetings for an hour or two and will sometimes have to call you back. That is just a part of the business -- you understand.
Your business requires some necessary documentation to run — we get it. Your supplier should get it too. They should be willing to provide the documentation basics for you (COA, spec sheets, certificate of liability insurance, 3rd party audit, kosher statement, organic certificate, Non-GMO Project Verified certificate, etc.)
This list above should be the basic QA documentation that they can offer you. There may be many documents beyond that which can be given to you as well.
Having this paperwork available to you means that they are receiving the proper quality testing and documentation internally. Also, it shows they care about having their company certified in the things that your company cares about as well.
Choose your supplier wisely and don't feel like you have to give up on these excellent characteristics. Your supplier should always be able to provide you with these basics as a professional quality olive oil supply business.