Sir, I read with interest your article on oils in last week's magazine ('Focus on Oils, 28 May) and was extremely surprised to see the comment by Kay Staniland of Assosia that stated "that this is not a category that makes a significant amount of money for the trade".

Only a few years ago we represented two major Italian brands and controlled almost 10% of the entire olive oil market in the UK. One of these brands was Carapelli. At that time, gross margins for this category were between 50%-60%, so if margins have slid this can only be due to the fact that two major olive oil brands now dominate the UK olive oil market, which was in fact the choice of the trade, which rationalised the brands three years ago to such an extent that it has caused this situation.

As so often with so many grocery categories, rationalisation not only reduces choice for the consumer but can cause a problem for the long-term sustainable growth of the category.

Stephen Barlow, MD, Euro Food Brands