Olive Pomace Oil: The Ultimate Guide

for manufacturers and small businesses

Olive Pomace Oil is a lesser-known type of olive oil used by food and body care manufacturers, chefs, and home cooks alike.  ... But what makes it different from Extra Virgin Olive Oil?  Is it actually good for cooking? And is it cheaper?


Learn everything you need to know below, whether you're a home chef or a corporate manufacturing buyer.


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Don't have the time right now?  You can download this guide as a PDF using the form here, or you can keep scrolling to read more about Olive Pomace Oil:

  • How it's made
  • How it's different from EVOO & other grades of olive oil
  • Who uses it and why
  • How the price compares to other oils
  • If it's right for you: whether you're a home chef or corporate manufacturing buyer


All About Olive Pomace Oil eBook







Chapter 1: What Is Olive Pomace Oil?

Olive Pomace Oil is a type (or grade) of olive oil, like Extra Virgin Olive Oil is also a grade of olive oil.  The name denotes both the quality of the oil and signifies the chemical parameters that it should meet. 

Olive Pomace Oil is the lowest grade of olive oil, after all of the other grades: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), Virgin Olive Oil, Olive Oil (also known as Pure Olive Oil) and Refined Olive Oil (also known as Light Tasting or Extra Light Olive Oil). After all of those higher quality grades comes Olive Pomace Oil.  USDA Source

And remember!  It's spelled pomace — not pumice!  They’re very different things.


Pomace vs. Pumice




Chapter 2: Why Is It Called Olive Pomace Oil?

Webster's Dictionary has a pretty simple definition of what “pomace” is.

"The dry or pulpy residue of material (such as fruit, seeds, or fish) from which a liquid (such as juice or oil) has been pressed or extracted.  : something crushed to a pulpy mass.” Source

In the case of olive oil, the pomace is the remaining pulp -- the solids of the olive fruit, skin and pit -- after they've been crushed and spun to get the higher grades of extra virgin and virgin olive oils out.

But it doesn't stop with just olives. You can have pomace made up of the remains of grapes after making wine, and lots of other types of pomace.  The below is an example of what the pomace looks like after grape harvest and wine production.

Pomace from Grapes Example

This is when we describe the pomace that's made from olive harvest and production, it's called 'Olive Pomace' Oil instead of just ‘Pomace Oil’. It answers the question: What kind of pomace is the oil coming from?  Technically, "pomace oil", without any descriptors, could come from a number of different fruit types.

You will still see that some people call it simply "Pomace Oil" or "Pomace Olive Oil". Of course, it's generally understood what they are talking about, and you'll see people in the oil industry use all different kinds of terms (including me, in the information below). 

That said, the USDA's olive oil grade definitions technically recognize only the term "Olive Pomace Oil" with the wording in that particular order. USDA Source







Chapter 3: How Is Olive Pomace Oil Made?

To understand how Olive Pomace Oil is made, it’s best to start at the beginning, to understand how each of the grades of olive oil are made. How the more premium grades are made is a part of the story of how pomace is made, so you have to include everything to have a full picture.

When the olives are harvested, the first grade that is produced is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  The olives are washed and crushed into a paste, including the fruit, pit and skin.

Olive crush production - 3 phases of grinding and paste

That olive paste is spun in a centrifuge or pressed in an olive press to extract the oil. 

This Extra Virgin Olive oil is kept at a cool temperature during production, and it isn’t heated or refined in any way.  It’s very similar to a fresh-squeezed olive fruit juice.  This is why EVOO is known as the “first cold press” of the olives — it is the first press that is done with no heat involved (although oftentimes it is now a first cold “spin” using a modern centrifuge).

centrifugation of EVOO

Virgin Olive Oil is produced in the same way, but it has less exacting taste and chemical testing parameters than Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Any virgin olive oil that is not fit for consumption as is will undergo refining to become Refined Olive Oil (also known as Extra Light or Light Tasting Olive Oil). This Refined Olive Oil becomes the base for Pure Olive Oil as well (which is a blend of Refined Olive Oil and little bit of EVOO mixed in). We won't dig too far into these definitions, as they don't strongly affect Olive Pomace Oil, which is the topic at hand.

After the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and/or Virgin Olive Oil is spun or squeezed from the olive paste, what remains is a dry olive pulp, known as pomace.  These remains are stored as dry pulp, but they still contain up to 8% oil inside.  Rather than being tossed and the oil being wasted, a solvent (typically hexane) is used to extract the oil from the remaining olive pomace.

After the solvent is added and the oil removed from the pomace, the oil moves to the refining process, where it is heated using steam and the solvent evaporates. The oil should be heated so the solvent evaporates completely and cleanly without leaving any sort of harmful residue.

Think of it like this: if you get a sponge wet, you can get most of the water out of the sponge by squeezing it (just like making Extra Virgin Olive Oil). But after squeezing, there’s still water in the sponge. It’s still damp and you know it’s in there! But you can’t get it out because you’ve already squeezed as hard as you can. This is where the solvent comes in. The solvent draws the last of the the oil out of the pomace, like pulling the water out of a damp sponge.

Olive Pomace Oil - water from damp sponge

If you're a visual person, you can click through this slideshow about how each olive oil grade is made.



A Step By Step Guide: How Olive Pomace Oil Is Made

Curious to learn more about the specifics?  Here’s a step by step guide to how Olive Pomace Oil is made.


1. The Olive Pomace Is Collected

The pomace is the dry pulp of the olive that remains after the olive is crushed into a paste and the first spin is completed producing Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oil. However, the leftover pomace still has oil in it, similar to how clothes are still wet after they go through the spin cycle in the washer.


2. The Oil Is Extracted

A solvent, typically hexane, is added to the pomace, and the oil is extracted. Then the solvent is removed. The resulting oil is known as raw or crude olive pomace oil.


3. The Pomace Oil Is Refined

The oil is refined to create a mild taste and color. The refining process has a number of different steps, reviewed in more detail below.


A Step By Step Guide: The Refining Process

Step 1: Purification

The initial phase of the refining process purifies the oil to eliminate excess acidity and makes it neutral. The oil passes through latest-generation centrifuges, which separate the oil from any olive sediment.

The oil is also allowed to settle, allowing olive sediment and particles to gravitate towards the bottom of a cone shaped tank and be removed. This helps avoid any cloudiness in the oil.


Step 2: Winterization

This process involves the removal of natural waxes from the neutral oil that may cause it to cloud or even freeze at low temperatures. To achieve this, the oil is cooled and slowly mixed:  the crystals formed during the slow mixing are separated by the traditional method of decanting, leaving the remaining oil bright and clear.


Step 3: Color Clarification

Refined olive pomace oil has a consistent color, due to a natural bleaching process that’s performed. The oil is warmed and a light earthen clay is used to filter the oil. In the process, any dark plant pigments are absorbed and the remaining oil is a characteristic yellow-green hue.


Step 4: Steam Is Added

Steam is mixed with the oil. This stage of the process creates a light odor and taste, giving the finished product no smell, and a bland yet slightly almondy taste.

These refining steps above are commonly used with lots of different types of oils: this is the same refining process that Refined and Pure Olive Oil grades go through.  This is also very similar to the refining that sunflower, safflower, non-GMO canola oil and many other types of oil undergo as well.


4.  Extra Virgin or Virgin Olive Oil May Be Added

Sometimes a small percentage of Extra Virgin or Virgin Olive Oil may be added to the Pomace, similar to Pure Olive Oil. 




Chapter 4: How Is Pomace Different From Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Though they are both commonly found grades of olive oil, there are a few key differences between Extra Virgin and Olive Pomace Oil.


1) Extra Virgin Comes From Fresh Fruit vs. Pomace Which Comes From Dry Pulp

One key difference between Olive Pomace Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil is what it is produced from.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil is produced from freshly ground olive paste — the oil itself comes from the masticated olive fruit, even though everything is ground up together.  Pomace, on the other hand, is produced from the remains of that already-spun pulp (containing fruit, pit, etc), which is left over after that Extra Virgin is produced.


2) Extra Virgin Is Produced With Expeller Pressing vs. Pomace Which Is Solvent Extracted

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is produced using a centrifuge to spin the oil out of the crushed olives or it may be pressed out of the olive using a traditional olive press.  This oil uses nothing but physical or mechanical power for extraction. 

Pomace, in contract, uses solvent (chemical) extraction to produce the oil. 


3) Pomace Is Refined vs. Extra Virgin Which Is Not

Olive Pomace Oil is refined, which produces its characteristic light taste and color.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, on the other hand, is not refined and maintains a strong natural olive flavor. The taste profile of EVOO is typically complementary in savory recipes like dressings and artisan breads, but can overwhelm a light or sweet flavored product.


Get Information About How All The Different Olive Oil Grades Are Made

Download All About Olive Oil eBook




Chapter 5: What’s Good About Olive Pomace Oil?

Why would anyone opt to use Olive Pomace Oil over other grades of olive oil — or for that matter, over other types of oils?  Here’s why people like Olive Pomace Oil for their manufactured food and body care products.


Even If It’s A Lower Grade, It’s Still Made From Olives

Olive Pomace Oil is produced from the pulp and leftover flesh of the olives, after the first press of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is done. Even though it’s a lower grade of oil that makes use of the “leftovers” found in the olive remains, it is still produced from 100% olives.

Olive oil is one of the most well-regarded oils in the world. Even if it is a lower grade of olive oil, being “second best” is still better than many of the other oil alternatives out there in the market.


It Has A High Heat Tolerance

Olive Pomace Oil stands up to heat when you’re baking, cooking and doing hot-fill processes in manufacturing. This means that the heat used in cooking and the general process of making your food won’t damage the oil, including the taste or the smell. In comparison, this is debated with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, because it is a cold-produced oil and has a lower smoke point.

The reason it stands up to heat so well is actually because it’s already been submitted to the high heat refining process, so any flavor or color changes that would come from being heated to high levels have already occurred. It’s at its final resting color and flavor profile already, so it can stand up to hotter temperatures — that is, up until its’ smoke point, of course.

The smoke point of olive pomace oil is highly debated. Some say around 400 ˚F while others say up to 500 ˚F. For this type of olive oil, it will definitely stand up to heat better than an Extra Virgin Olive Oil would, but it is still suggested to keep the temperature below 425˚F.


Cook sauteeing with olive pomace oil high heat


It Has A Mild Flavor

After Olive Pomace Oil is produced, it is refined. This refining process includes applying high heat (often in the form of steam) and a natural earthen bleaching clay that filters the oil to remove a lot of the color and flavor.

This means that for manufacturers who need an oil with a mild flavor profile (one that won’t affect the taste of their overall product), Olive Pomace Oil will fit the bill in a very similar way to how a sunflower, safflower, canola or soybean oil would.

If you’re looking for a mild olive oil that won’t affect your flavor profile, this is going to be it. If you, however, want the taste of olive oil to show up in your foods, Extra Virgin or Virgin Olive Oil is what you should be looking for.


It Made Of The Same Healthy Fats As Other Olive Oils

Fat is a vital component of a healthy diet.  Though the concept of fat has been a contentious issues for decades, not all fats are actually bad for you.  In fact, it is the type of fat that is important.  

Monounsaturated fats (as opposed to saturated or polyunsaturated) are commonly found in nuts, seeds and olive oil and are considered to be a better-for-you fat.  One reason is because monounsaturated fat doesn't oxidize in the body, while polyunsaturated fat does.

Many agree that these monounsaturated fats have the following benefits for a healthy body:

  • Protects from chronic diseases
  • Improves the arterial function in elderly individuals
  • Reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome (a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and high blood sugar)

Olive Pomace Oil is still made 100% from olives, which means that the make up of fats or lipids inside the oil are still the same as in other olive oils. All olive oil has a high level of monounsaturated fats (the healthy fats) and a low level of saturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Even though this is a solvent produced oil, when lined up to other commonly solvent produced oils, the type of fat inside is much healthier than the other options.


It’s Naturally Non-GMO

All the grades of olive oil, including olive pomace oil, are naturally non-GMO. This means that there isn’t any genetically modified versions of olive oil that have been produced in the world. Because it is naturally non-GMO, it is deemed a “low-risk ingredient” by the Non-GMO Project™, which makes it a simple and easy choice to use in your next product that is being Non-GMO Project™ Verified.

As more and more consumers look for assurance that their food is non-GMO (or look for the butterfly seal of the Non-GMO Project) this naturally GMO free ingredient is an ideal choice.


comparing oils in retail grocery


It’s Gluten Free

Olive pomace oil is a naturally gluten free ingredient. This may seem obvious to some, but since many manufacturers now have to confirm using a gluten free statement on their packaging, it’s always helpful to reiterate.

Of course, you should always check that your supplier is packing in a gluten-free facility to avoid cross-contamination and get a gluten-free statement from them.


It’s Good For Product Marketing (For Manufacturers)

Olive oil is renowned as one of the healthiest oils available on the market. This is because all olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and Extra Virgin contains special healthy properties.

Many customers in the natural foods industry prefer to see any type of olive oil on a label over all of the other oil options, even if it is olive pomace oil. For this reason, olive pomace oil can be a great point of marketing on your food product.


It Has A Lower Price Point

Olive pomace oil is the lowest grade of olive oil. It has the cheapest cost in comparison to all the other olive oil grades. 

This means that if getting the lowest price is a priority for you — but you still want to use an oil made from olives — pomace should be near the top of your list of oils to consider.

On average, olive pomace oil costs about 47% less than Extra Virgin.  However, this is just an average.  From year to year, the disparity between the price of EVOO and Pomace can vary from approximately 30% to 60% so there can be a wide variation in the comparison of prices.

Aside from the obvious factor of quality, the biggest other factor that causes the variance between prices (aka, whether the price of Pomace is 30% lower than EVOO or if it’s 60% lower) is the olive oil market and the current global supply of Olive Pomace Oil compared to that of EVOO.

When there is less global production of either oil, you will see higher prices on that particular oil. There are some years that there is more supply of EVOO or more supply of Pomace, and that’s where the differences in price disparity usually come from.

Of course, there’s lots of different factors that can affect prices on top of that — bulk order volumes, packaging sizes, production levels between different harvest years, and more.




Chapter 6: What’s The Debate Around Olive Pomace Oil?

The debate surrounding Pomace all comes down to how it is produced. It is the only type of olive oil that is made using solvent extraction, which means that a solvent is added to the ground up olives to get the oil out. This is later evaporated in a high heat process, so it is completely removed from the final product that you eat.

Before you place any judgement on Olive Pomace Oil, first check your pantry (or your other product line ingredient statements, if you're a manufacturer) for any vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, rice bran oil or grape seed oil — if they don’t say “expeller pressed” on the spec sheet, these other oils are also produced using the same exact method of solvent extraction.  This is currently the oil industry standard of production, so it is very commonly found.

This should put things in perspective — many people are upset by the idea of an olive oil being produced in this way when compared to the liquid gold of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  At the same time, however, they continue to use these other solvent expelled oils without knowing how similar they really are.

Want other reasons why Olive Pomace Oil might not be a good fit fit you?  Here they are below.


It’s A Refined Olive Oil

If you want an oil that has a fresh or strong olive flavor, olive pomace oil won’t be the best choice because it is so mild tasting.

Did you notice that this characteristic (that it's refined) is also listed a positive feature? This feature can be both a pro or a con for the taste profile of your product, depending on the flavor you’re looking for.


It Misses Out On The Unique Health Benefits In Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil has been touted as a great oil because of its many health benefits. Some of these benefits apply no matter which grade of olive oil you buy-- like the fact that it’s high in healthy monounsaturated fats.

Other health benefits are exclusive to Extra Virgin Olive Oil only, like the cancer-fighting polyphenols found in varying levels in fresh EVOO. Refined oil grades like Pure Olive Oil, Refined Olive Oil and Olive Pomace Oil miss out on these health benefits exclusive to first, cold-pressed, unrefined oils like Extra Virgin.


Your Product Depends On Extra Virgin For It’s Flavor

If your food (like a dressing, cracker, hummus, bread, etc.) uses Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the flavor profile comes in part from the fresh, strong taste of your Extra Virgin Olive Oil, switching to Olive Pomace Oil will not be for you.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a strong flavor that depends on olive varietal, but typically tastes buttery or peppery and fresh. It should always have a distinct and delicious flavor. Olive Pomace Oil is going to taste much more bland because it is a refined oil — like a sunflower, grape seed, or safflower oil would.

So, if you depend on the delicious flavor of EVOO to make your product, don’t expect that pomace will have the same results. You’ll want to stick with what you’ve got!

Olive Oil Calculations & Conversions Guide: To Compare Pricing & Units Between Suppliers

Download Olive Oil Calculations & Conversions Tool




Chapter 7: A Quality Comparison - The Big Picture View

Truth be told, olive pomace oil will still fall in the middle of the “quality scale” when compared to all of the oil ingredients out there.  It’s not the highest quality and most expensive grade of oil, but there’s many other options that would be deemed less healthy or lower quality by the typical natural foods consumer.

Olive Oil Quality Scale Comparison

Conventional canola, soybean, sunflower and grapeseed oil are also produced using solvents (unless the label reads “expeller pressed”), and they are refined in a similar manner to pomace.  Many consumers don’t realize that this method of extraction is still the industry standard for producing most cooking oils.

If your customers had to choose between canola, soybean or pomace, most would choose the olive pomace oil -- at least it’s still produced from the healthy olive and contains a high level of monounsaturated fat!




Chapter 8:For Manufacturers & Small Businesses: How To Decide If Olive Pomace Oil Is Right For Your Brand

How do you go about evaluating if olive pomace oil is right for your products?  Here’s the step-by-step guide to help you navigate the internal company decision process, and the questions to ask yourself — and your team — along the way.


Step 1: Set The Goals For Your Ingredient

Set some goals around your ingredient. It’s helpful to first understand what you are hoping to achieve with your ingredient before you start your research process.

  1. Are you looking to bring down your price of a different bulk oil that’s already in use?
  2. Are you launching a new product and trying to reach a particular target market?
  3. Does your target market have any predetermined oil preferences or ingredient desires you are aware of?


Step 2: Research

Research your options for the types of oil that might be a good fit.  Make sure to factor in your production process; for example, are you using a hot or cold fill?  Will the oil need to have heat tolerance?  Locate your first choice and a few other options. 

It’s also helpful to get pricing at this stage, but you can usually hold off on doing a formal review until after you’ve gone through the testing process below.


Step 3: Evaluate

Do sample testing with a few different types of oil, including Olive Pomace Oil. See which ones are the best fit for your product’s taste profile.  It will be important to note, does an Extra Virgin Olive Oil bring out the flavor in your product that you are looking for, or is it important to have the lighter flavor in the Olive Pomace Oil?


Step 4: Compare Pricing

Compare bulk pricing of the different oils to decide which aligns best with your overall goals. 

Can’t find a good way to meet your low pricing needs?  Consider a custom blend with olive oil and other oils like non-GMO canola oil, high oleic sunflower or high oleic safflower oil.

Thanks for taking the time to read all this information and compare your options!

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Created By

Hannah Broaddus, VP of Sales & Marketing

Hannah Broaddus

VP of Sales & Marketing, Centra Foods

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