Peruvian olives reviewed at SIAL
During the foods fair SIAL CBI held two focus groups to discuss the market opportunities for the Peruvian Alfonso olive. The first session gathered input from European importers and product specialists, whereas the second session brought together producers from Peru.
Focus groups, which are a qualitative research method in which a panel of topic experts are gathered to discuss a number of research questions, are a common method to gather primary data as input for market intelligence reports. The focus groups at SIAL 2018 were organised by market research company Profound in co-operation with CBI sector expert Reindert Dekker and programme manager Arthur Scheinhardt. The insights gathered during both sessions will be included in a larger study on Peruvian olives which will be published later this year.
Product and Market insights
In the first session European importers were asked to review the olives in a tasting session. Results were in line with the outcomes of an earlier COI and consumer test with 103 Spanish consumers that had taken place previously. During all three tests as strong points of the Alfonso olive versus similar produce (such as the Kalamata olive) its deep black/purplish colour and its large size came forward. Another strong point is that the Peruvian product is considered to be a “natural product”, meaning that little additives are added during the production process. The most important point of attention was the texture of the olive. The Peruvian olive is relatively soft and ripe, whereas European consumers generally prefer harder and pitted olives.
After looking at the product characteristics the focus group explored commercial opportunities for the product. To be successful in Europe, Peruvian producers need to offer a full range of olives, from green to black, pitted, unpitted, and combinations with different flavours, ingredients and packaging formats. To sell the product as an appetizer in the chilled segment of the European market it was recommended to make changes in the production process to accommodate for European tastes with regards to texture and pits. Alternatively the product can be sold in its current form as a speciality product or as an ingredient for cooking. At the closing of the session retail consultant Lydia Garett in her presentation gave insight on the British market, its major players, and gave tips on how to successfully enter this substantial olive market.
During the second session with Peruvian producers the president of sector association Proolivo Mr. Victor Manual Morales, who attended both sessions, gave a summary of the most important insights that were gathered during the first session. Strong and weak points of the product were further explored with the producers as well as their implications on marketing the product successfully in Europe.
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