Maria Reyes, KeHE’s category director for oils, spoke at two industry events earlier this month—the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) convention and at the New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC).
Reyes gave the keynote address at the COOC event in Monterey, Calif., discussing “Building a Brand in a Crowded Marketplace. In New York, she spoke on the topic of “Going Big: Establishing a National Distribution Footprint.”
“The ‘foodie’ mentality has hit the olive oil category,” Reyes said, “and KeHE is seeing an increased interest among consumers for unique flavor profiles and high-quality oils coming from different regions of the world.
“Since mainstream olive oil has become commoditized, the focus for KeHE is identifying for the grocery retailer the right mix of specialty products. Offering shoppers higher quality oils translates into higher margins for retailers and better, healthier products for the consumers.”
Added KeHE President and CEO Brandon Barnholt, “Our team of experts are passionate about helping the industry’s highest quality olive oil producers from around the world succeed here in the American market. Our retail partners look to us for education on what olive oil products are meeting consumers’ evolving expectations.”
In addition to making industry event presentations, KeHE provides its own educational programs for retailers. For example, KeHE’s 2013 Holiday Show featured a “Global Extra Virgin Olive Oil Experience,” featuring a tasting bar where attendees learned how to taste premium extra virgin olive oil like a pro. At the event, Tom Mueller, author of the New York Times bestseller “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil,” met with retailers to share his passion for extra virgin olive oil, and educate them about how to make better selections of olive oil to offer their customers.
In the feature photo at top is KeHE’s Maria Reyes. (Photo courtesy of NYIOOC)