Why You CAN Buy Organic Virgin Olive Oil, But You Probably Won’t

Posted by Hannah Broaddus

Did you know that there is both Organic Extra Virgin and an Organic Virgin Olive Oil? Just like there is a regular Extra Virgin and regular Virgin Olive Oil, each of these oils are also available in an organic version.

Interestingly though, you won’t find Organic Virgin Olive Oil very many places in the US. That’s because there’s not much of it that is produced, nor is it often demanded by customers. It’s just not that readily available. So why is that?


Organic Virgin Olive Oil Isn’t The Popular Kid In School

See the chart below from the International Olive Council, which shows the amount of olive oil that was imported of each grade in bulk. As you can see, availability of Organic Virgin Olive Oil is very low, in comparison with every other grade. Extra Virgin Olive Oil leads the way in popularity, followed by Organic Extra Virgin, then Virgin and far behind that, Organic Virgin Olive Oil.


IOC March Newsletter Import Grades Graph


This chart is quite indicative of the respective popularity of each grade here in the US as well. It stands as a good representation of why you CAN buy Organic Virgin Olive Oil, but you probably won’t-- many suppliers just don’t carry it.

Why? Because there’s just not that much to go around.


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Why Organic Virgin Olive Oil Isn’t That Common

So why don’t you see more Organic Virgin Olive Oil available on the market? It all has to do with supply and demand. 

The oils themselves aren’t really that different. The organic versions of each of these oils are produced in the same way that the non-organic versions are. The biggest difference is that they are made organically grown olives. 

So why don’t we all see Organic Virgin Olive Oil more readily available? There’s a couple reasons.


1. Consumers Want Organic Extra Virgin

Many manufacturers and distributors feel like if they’re buying certified organic oil (and paying the premium for it), they might as well go with the highest grade of oil for a few extra cents. A consumer (either in food service, or a consumer of a manufactured product) is going to appreciate seeing Extra Virgin Olive Oil name instead of Virgin-- particularly if they are interested in Organic oil in the first place. That’s because the typical consumer that looks for an organic oil is looking for high quality and willing to pay more to get it.


2. Producers Want To Sell Organic Extra Virgin 

The typical olive oil producer wants to sell their organic olives as Extra Virgin. Because it’s a higher quality oil, they can get more money for it. With a little love and extra focus, they can generally make sure that their organic olives are picked and pressed in such a way that the oil will be deemed Extra Virgin. Ideally, if a grower spends the extra time and investment to grow their olives organically, they will want to get as much money as they can for those crops. 

The primary reason they might actually sell Organic Virgin Olive Oil is if the oil produced from organic olives, once pressed and tested, only meets the minimum requirements for Virgin-- not Extra Virgin. This is why you see on the chart above from the International Olive Council that the Organic Virgin Olive Oil produced is so minute.


Why You Probably Won’t Buy Organic Virgin

While you could find Organic Virgin Olive Oil if you really needed it, chances are it will be more beneficial for you to buy Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil-- both because it’s what your consumers would prefer and because it’s what’s easily available from a number of suppliers.

If you really do need Organic Virgin Olive Oil though, you can find it. You’ll just have to look a bit harder!

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Image: Source

Topics: Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Comparing Oils



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