Consumer Survey: Which Cooking Oils Are Healthiest?

Posted by Hannah Broaddus

Olive oil is considered one of the healthiest oils

I have a friend who is convinced coconut oil is the oil of the gods — the be all end all of healthy food.

Others that I’ve talked with are absolutely positive that olive oil is the one and only, healthiest oil.


[Picture Spartacus of the health foodies.]

Right now, there’s a number of different cooking oils that are battling for the title of “The Healthiest Oil”. Depending on who you listen to, you could be convinced either way. But that’s not what’s important for you and your food brand.

What’s key for you in the natural food industry is to understand what your specific customers actually want to see in their food. Usually when you’re talking about the typical Whole Foods’ customer, this answer is the healthiest ingredient that still tastes good”.

I wanted to get an idea of what people really thought, so I did a quick survey.  

I did it on on Three Cents, a surveying app, which t allowed me to get feedback from the every day consumer on what they considered to be the healthiest oils.

This is a good starting place to get an idea of what the average consumer thinks. After you see the results below, the next step will be for you to take this survey to your customers and let them answer it for you.

Consumer Perceptions Of The Healthiest Oils

Below you can see the survey results from a total of 76 consumers.

Consumer Survey: Which Cooking Oils Are Healthiest?


Which Oil Is The Healthiest?

Olive Oil 62%

Coconut Oil 22%

Canola Oil 7%

Grapeseed Oil 7%

Safflower Oil 1%*

Sunflower Oil 1%*


Which Oil You Should Choose

Extra Virgin Olive OilIf your goal is to delight your customers, you need to choose an oil they’ll be excited to see in your product when the flip it over and read the ingredient label. Your ingredients should make them want to eat it and share it with others.

As you can see, going with olive oil is a smart choice. Coconut oil, another good choice.

Is your current oil having a positive affect on the consumer perception of your brand? Or is the oil that you’re using now actually be hurting your product’s healthy perception?


Next Steps

In all actuality, this was a small survey, so before you base any real business decisions off of it, you should submit a similar survey to your target market:

What oils do your actual customers think are healthiest?

What oils do they want to see in your product?

How important is price vs. quality?

Consider the three cents app to submit it— I thought it was fast and easy to use and can get you some real time feedback without paying thousands for official consumer surveys.


A Note on Safflower And Sunflower Oil

High Oleic Sunflower OilI was surprised to see these results for safflower and sunflower oil, because if you scour the ingredient labels at a Whole Foods Market, you will find these oils a lot. Here’s why I think they had such low results on this particular survey:

  1. they’re not very well known yet and
  2. they’re seed oils

At the end of the day, extra virgin olive oil is probably still healthier than sunflower oil. But the debate is more complicated than that when you have to take prices and flavor profiles into account.

Don’t rule these two healthy oils out — they’re extremely popular with the Whole Foods crowd right now (especially organic and conventional high oleic sunflower oil).

Topics: Industry Trends



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