Olive Oil - What Works on the Shelf | The Olive Oil Source

Olive Oil - What Works on the Shelf

Source: Linda Sikorski
March 30, 2007

Presented at the 2007 COOC members meeting. Marketing committee member Linda Sikorski is a senior food buyer for the Pasta Shop Market Hall Foods. She presents here her thoughts on olive oil marketing as it relates to the retail channel shelf.

Practicalities of Design: Use a professional, experienced graphics person. Become an expert or use an expert for proof reading for typos. Talk to the bottling company and the printer before designing your label.

Redesigning a Label: Be consistent. Make sure the label is still recognizable as your label.

Front Label

Text and Copy:

Who: Name of your company. Is it easy to pronounce. Many California companies have Spanish place names which may be unfamiliar to those on the East coast.

What: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

- If you sell more than one oil, how do you differentiate them? Be bold and clear using color and font. Do not let a consumer expecting an extra virgin oil get home with a lemon flavored one.

- Single Variety or a blend?

- Organic or Sustainable?

Where: Emphasis: California - Region: Napa Valley, etc.

Aesthetic of the front label:

Define your look: old fashioned, modern, down home, fresh California look?

- Consider who your customers are

- Include an element of surprise, fun and excitement

- Graphic designer - Hire a designer experienced in food labels.

Font and Graphics

- Should be readable from a distance and up close. Does it draw you in?

- Graphic or Picture: Should be appropriate, representing your company and olive oil

- Color: What catches the eye: Does it express your company and look good with the bottle?

Label Material

- Consider that the label gets oily. Maybe use a laminate

Back Label

The back label is an opportunity to present information that professional buyers can use on retail signage to promote your oil.

Who are you; This is a chance to really tell your story in detail (Why is there a picture of an owl on the front label, etc.).

Why did you get in to the business or why should they buy your oil?

What does the oil taste like? Be specific. Describe the aroma and the taste.

How do you use it? Give 3 ways to use it. This can be general or specific.

When is the date of harvest or "best consumed by".

Bottle Shape and Closure


- Be practical. Can you pick it up and pour easily. Is bottle "top Heavy"?

- Does the bottle fit easily on store shelves?  Too tall doesn't work for retail shelving nor the customer's cupboard.


- Be careful of cheap metal caps and wax.


- Do you have control over where your bottle ends up in the store of the storeroom? if not, a dark bottle is better.