Marketing olive oil to Indians: Spanish companies on promotion drive

New Delhi: Set to capitalise on the ''health and fitness'' trend, companies producing olive oil along with olive oil brands from Spain and Italy are heading straight for India.

The olive oil market in India is estimated at around €4 million in terms of value, corresponding to 2,000 tonnes of the product in terms of volume.

According to Jose Antonio Bretones, economic and commercial counsellor, Spanish Embassy, olive oil is one of the most natural forms of cooking oil, which is also extremely healthy. Given the rapid opening of the market, plans are underway for several initiatives for enhancing the awareness of Indian consumers about the goodness of olive oil.

The Spanish Embassy, in collaboration with numerous Spanish olive oil companies, is arranging an event in India at the end of the month. People from backgrounds as varied as retail, distribution and even socialites will be informed about the benefits of using olive oil.

Bretones also said that Spanish companies serviced a substantial 60 per cent of India''s olive oil market. Soil and weather conditions are not conducive to producing olive oil in India. Spanish companies are said to have allocated a budget of about €30,000 for generic promotional activities, and an additional €150,000 for concentrated marketing plans in India, according to Bretones.

The fast emerging organised retail chains are seen to facilitate the marketing of olive oil brands.

Filipo Berio, an Italian olive oil brand has been launched in partnership with R R Oomerbhoy Pvt Ltd (RRO), an Indian manufacturer and marketer of edible oils.

According to Riyad Oomerbhoy, managing director, RRO, the Indian company will use its Mumbai unit for bottling the Filipo Berio brand, and intends to sell around 1.5 lakh litres of the oil in its first year of operations. 100ml and 200ml packs will be bottled in India, while 500ml bottles will be imported from Italy. The average price of olive oil hovers at Rs700 per litre.

Filipo Berio, unlike Spanish brands, plans to reach its target market mainly through becoming a neighbourhood presence through mom ''n'' pop stores, leveraging Oomerbhoy''s strong distribution network. Reportedly, RRO plans to adopt the modern retail chain route at a later stage, when their presence is more prolific.