Concern over healthy eating has seen sales of olive oil overtake those of standard cooking oils in terms of value for the first time.
According to the latest data from TNS, sales of olive oil have rocketed by 13% in the year to May 23. Olive oil sales now represent 47.2% of the total oils sector compared to the 46.2% share held by standard oils which have grown by just 2%.
The total oils market is static in volume terms, with just 1% growth year-on-year.
Therefore the success of olive oil shows that people are changing their buying patterns in response to issues such as the debate about obesity.
While the healthy eating message seems to be getting across, the next challenge facing olive oil suppliers is educating consumers on the versatility of olive oil for use in cooking.
Household penetration for olive oil in the UK has grown to 42.1% but is still a long way behind that of Mediterranean countries.
>>p37 Focus on oils