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Top 10 oil brands Nielsen
Top Ten Oil Brands  
  £ this year % change
NAPOLINA 24.3 -13.1%
KTC 21.7 22.6%
CRISP 'N DRY 20.9 -1.9%
FRY LIGHT 18.3 -0.3%
FLORA 10.3 -4.9%
OLIVIO 4.7 28.8%
PURA 4.6 -4.6%
FARCHIONI 3.6 21.0%
Nielsen w/e 31.03.18    

This quote holds true for so many brands in this list: “We promoted less than last year and haemorrhaged volume.” That’s Filippo Berio MD Walter Zanré’s explanation for the market leader’s decline of 349k litres (4.3%), though the brand still saw impressive value growth (5.2%). Rival Napolina suffered both in value (down 13.1%) and volume over the year. The brand accounted for its decline of 2.4 million litres (26%) in much the same way as Zanré: costs went up, so it promoted less.

The same pattern but in reverse helps explain KTC’s rise to the number three spot in this sector, after overtaking EOL’s Crisp ’n Dry brand with value sales up £4m. In response to reduced input costs, retailers heavily promoted the brand’s larger formats at key trading periods such as the build-up to Ramadan to drive footfall and compete with the rock bottom prices of the discounters.

Own label has been the chief beneficiary of these efforts, knocking brands’ market share down from 53.7% at the end of March 2017 to 51.8% a year later. Own label is successfully stealing share in all sectors, with everyone from Napolina (the year’s greatest loser in absolute terms) to coconut oil’s Groovy and Lucy Bee (the second and third biggest casualties) losing out.

Fastest-growing brand in the top 10, Olivio, attributes its success to £1 and £2 promotional deals for 500ml and one-litre bottles respectively, creating an entry point into the olive oil category.

Oil value sales Kantar
Category Value Sales    
  Value this year (£m)  % y-o-y
  Extra Virgin   80.1 0.6
  Sunflower   77.7 9.0
  Vegetable   63.3 4.3
  Olive Oil   32.8 0.3
  Coconut   24.4 0.8
  Light+Mild   21.3 6.8
  Cold Pressed Rapeseed   11.7 10.2
  Rapeseed   10.5 31.9
  Sesame   4.7 16.8
Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 28th January 2018  
Brands vs. Own Label    
  Value this year (£m) % y-o-y
Branded 161.4 -0.6
Own Label 191.5 11.0


Just £2.4m now separates extra virgin olive, Britain’s bestselling cooking oil, and sunflower, according to Kantar Worldpanel’s read of the market. If current trajectories continue, sunflower is on course to take the number one slot in the coming year.

Olive oil’s slump has been driven by a cut in promotions. Brands were saddled with rocketing costs after drought hit Mediterranean production last year. Retailers have gained the upper hand with cheaper own label offers but, with supplies now easing, some suggest brands will fight back.

While average branded olive oil prices have surged 16.5%, branded sunflower prices have gone the other way, falling 12.7% as increased supplies have allowed brands to compete harder for promotional space with own label.

“The macro-trend of shoppers moving away from brands has impacted oils, with private label showing growth of 11% and many branded oil types struggling,” says Kantar analyst Bianca Draghici. “Coconut and avocado oils have seen the most innovation, with both brands and private label growing speciality oils.”

Oils top advertisers Ebiquity
Oils - 1st March 2017 - 28th February 2018      
Media TOTAL   Cinema Outdoor Press Radio TV
Brands Spend (£) Y-O-Y % % % % %
Fry Light £1,064,231 -27.83% 0.00% 0.00% 8.20% 0.00% 91.80%
Filippo Berio £572,337 56.27% 0.00% 0.00% 31.00% 0.00% 69.00%
Crisp 'n Dry £166,826 67.38% 0.00% 0.00% 20.50% 18.90% 60.60%
Querubi £17,033 752.08% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%
The Groovy Food Company £15,237 -0.68% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Cocavo £7,357 - 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Vita Coco £7,118 -62.92% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%
La Espanola £6,559 -47.46% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Napolina £6,494 6.11% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Pura £5,780 -11.57% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%
TOTAL (Top 10) £1,835,664 -6.66% 0.00% 0.00% 18.10% 1.70% 80.20%



Frylight was the biggest spender on traditional advertising space, with its TV ads (pictured) trumpeting the product’s ease of use and health credentials.

Next was bestseller Filippo Berio, which splashed out on a campaign encompassing TV, press & on-pack communication aimed at conveying olive oil’s versatility. Rival Napolina spent a fraction of Berio’s investment, perhaps helping to explain its bigger losses.

But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. Investment in digital isn’t covered, and many brands claim to be spending growing sums on partnerships with online influencers.