April 03, 2004
Albert Katz, president of the California Olive Oil Council (COOC), has announced that the COOC has been awarded a $50,000 Value-Added Agricultural Product Market Development Grant. The COOC, the trade and marketing arm of the burgeoning California olive oil industry, noted for establishing the Certified Extra Virgin Seal of authentication for California olive oils, will utilize the funding for extensive survey, research and marketing efforts aimed at strengthening consumer awareness and understanding of the council's Certified Extra Virgin Seal.
"This is a very exciting development for the COOC and we're extremely honored to be one of only 20 in the state to receive this funding," said Katz. "The California olive oil industry is at an exciting but critical juncture, propelled by tremendous growth in the past several years. As with any industry on the rise, information about the marketplace is extremely important."
The COOC's immediate focus will be to compile quantitative data on the production and sales of extra virgin olive oil as well as gather broad-based data on the industry. Market research will include strategic focus groups nationwide, allowing the COOC to better understand what consumers want in extra virgin olive oil and their current understanding of what extra virgin olive oil is, particularly California extra virgin olive oil. Ultimately, a comprehensive research and feasibility study will be utilized to develop an extensive marketing plan for the COOC's certification program.
Authorized as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, the Value-Added Agriculture Product Market Development Grants program provides an opportunity to refine agricultural commodities and products to increase their value in the marketplace.