Commercial olive oil, the kind you find lining your local supermarket shelves, is probably not what you think it is. It’s not as pure as it should be and is probably mixed with other cheaper oils, like sunflower seed oil, as well as colorants and preservatives.
The olive oil industry, like so many other foods, is largely unregulated, and can therefore lead to corrupt or unethical practices, which leads to confusion for us, the consumer. If we want to enjoy this healthy kind of fat, we are often misled with factually incorrect labels and marketing hype.
With the US being the 3rd largest global market for olive oil sales ($2b worth in 2015!!), it’s no wonder so many food companies want to jump on board this big business!
Have We Been Sold The Olive Oil Dream?
When you think of olive oil, you probably picture the lush green fields and azure blue waters of Spain, Greece or Italy – somewhere in the Mediterranean where everyone has beautiful skin and hair, and enjoys a healthy diet and an enviable lifestyle.
Thanks to clever marketing, this is the ‘olive oil dream’ we are sold.
And don’t get me wrong, I love using olive oil on my veggies (in tiny amounts) but I want to know where mine has come from. And I’m certainly not going to just take the word of a multi million-dollar food company without doing my own research.
Think about it – if all the olive oil that is marketed as ‘Italian’ was actually grown and bottled there, how much do you think it would actually cost? And do they even have enough space to grow that many olives??!
You might be surprised to learn that Italy actually imports most of its olive oil so you can’t always trust a food label. But you knew that anyway right?!
How Can You Ensure You Get The Best Olive Oil?
Lots more delis and smaller supermarkets are stocking independent olive oils these days so it’s worth checking them out. It can also be fun going to local farmers markets and producers to check out their fresh produce – I guarantee it will always taste nicer and be so much better for you!