Olive is Now a Top-selling Cooking Oil, having Reached JPY 40 Billion in Sales
The olive has had a long history since its birth in the Middle East and Mediterranean. In this part of the world, it was deeply rooted in everyday life, and was called “sun tree” and ”tree of life”. In Japan, the use of olive oil has expanded for the past 10 years, mainly for its unique flavor and aroma. People have being using it for a long time in the past and this creates a feeling of safety and security. Cooking recipes and health functions of the olive are now spreading and gaining popularity amongst consumers. According to a fixed point survey of The Nisshin Oillio Group, Ltd, cooking oil in Japan made a total of JPY149.6 billion in sales in 2018, an the olive oil accounted for JPY40 billion, which made a double digit increase from the previous year.
In Japan the sales of olive oil as a cooking oil has now reached the top spot, overtaking canola oil. The main reasons for this development are consumers’ growing attention to their health, increasing demand for raw food “to sprinkle” and “to intake as it is”, poor harvest in countries such as Spain have recovered, and prices have stabilised. Mainly in urban areas, the number of specialty shops for the olive is increasing, and olive oil is becoming more and more popular.
The Olive Oil Sommelier Association of Japan (OSAJ) and Seibu Sogo Ikebukuro organised the olive oil event las year that drew a lot of visitors. This event will be held again in July 2020. The chairman of OSAJ said that consumers were very interested in olive oil, but not enough information about olive oil were given out. The chairman also said it was important to send accurate information to distributors and retailers in order to expand further.
Olive Fruit and Leaves are Gaining Popularity as Food with Function Claims (FFC)
Based on recent research, the health food database of National Institute of Health and Nutrition introduced the effectiveness olive oil and olive extracts on people. It is said to aid hypotensive action, lower the effects of neutral fat, reduce the risk of developing diabetes and lessen the pain from knee osteoarthritis.
In addition to cooking oil, functional and active ingredients that are included in the olive fruit and leaves, such as hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, verbascoside, oleanolic acid and maslinic acid, are being distributed in the market. Since the first and long-awaited FFC product with olive was launched in November 2018, oil products, jerry products and supplements have been accepted as FFC. According to resources, “It is reported that hydroxytyrosol extracted from olive has antioxidant effects and suppresses converting LDL cholesterol to oxidised LDL cholesterol.” Another claim said, “It is reported that combined with daily exercise that places a little load on muscles, maslinic acid helps maintain muscle strength with ageing.”
Abstract of The Health Industry News