If you're working on a new product which uses olive oil as an ingredient, the first step is to decide what is the best grade to use in your product.
There are a lot of factors that tie into this final olive oil grade decision-- many little interwebbed strings that connect this decision with the outer-reaches of your business planning. Choosing a grade is not only an R&D decision; it ties into purchasing, marketing and new business development.
To make a decision on the grade you'll use, you'll need to ask yourself questions like:
- How much can I pay for this ingredient?
- Does a particular grade of oil make or break the taste profile for my product?
- Does our target market prefer that we use a particular grade, like Extra Virgin?
- Can we afford to factor their opinions in? Can we afford not to?
Before you get overwhelmed, I'm going to streamline the decision process for you. Just follow these 3 steps and you'll be well on your way to making a smart decision for your business.
3 Steps To Choose The Right Grade Of Bulk Olive Oil
Step 1: Understand what the different grades are and how they're made.
First, you just need to educate yourself to be able to make an informed decision. Learn how the different grades are made, and what the process of harvesting and pressing is. We'd suggest reading this article, The Grades Of Olive Oil: Clear And Simple Definitions.
Or instead, you can watch the same information in this quick video:
Once you've figured out how the different grades are made, narrow down your selection to a few option based on what you think will be ideal for your product. Just keep a loose idea of what you like in your mind, but don't make any final decisions at this point.
Step 2: Get an idea of how much each bulk olive oil grade costs in comparison to each other
Before you can make an educated choice on which grade is right for your product, you'll need to factor in the financial side of things-- how much can you pay for your ingreidents and still be profitable?
To be able to do this, you'll need to understand the differences in quality and how that quality affects the price.
Keep in mind though, olive oil is "sort of" a commodity item, which means that the price is always changing. You can't build your business plan this year and assume that the price is going to stay the same next year and the year after that. Therefore, it's better to base your decision on a common range of prices.
To see common prices for each grade, see our article with exact price ranges: What Is The Price Of Olive Oil in Bulk?
Now you can put the information together with step 1 and step 2 to narrow your selections down even further.
Ask yourself, what grade of olive oil do I want to use, that my customers would like to see, that I can afford? The grades that meet this criteria should move on to the next step.
Step 3: Request a consult and get samples for testing
The next step is to actually test the oils that you've decided on to be able to make an educated decision. The real deciding factor is how the oils fit into your product and how they affect your final taste profile. To figure this out, you'll need to get oil samples in and perform R&D testing.
Hypothetically, you can really get samples from anywhere: a grocery story, Costco, a wholesale supplier, etc. However, if you're a manufacturer it's helpful to get samples from a potential bulk oil supplier so that you can:
a.) get the COA in with the oil sample, which is a necessary part of your QA/R&D process, and
b.) have a potential supplier ready to go when the oil is approved and you make your decision.
Most bulk oil suppliers will send you small samples free of charge. However, you'll need to begin working with a sales rep at the supply company, to discuss the process that you're working on and request those samples. As a part of this discussion, they'll likely send you up to date pricing based on the current commodity market and help you make a few other basic decisions.