Olive oil is something I use pretty much anytime I am cooking. Seriously, I use it on everything. Whether I am cooking up some chicken or frying egg. Actually, I recently started using coconut oil for eggs. But this an entirely different story to be sorted out in another article. If I use a product everyday I tend to investigate the quality more carefully. Over the years, I have always been tempted by the cheap olive oil. There is no doubt about it. Olive oil is expensive. I see the Great Value branded stuff at Walmart for half the cost and I am tempted to save a few bucks. But I have avoided this urge. Here is why I recommend you avoid cheap olive oil.
The Price Of Purity: Why Is Olive Oil So Expensive?
Okay, before we get started let’s talk about why olive oil is so expensive. There are several reasons. First off, olive oil is produced from the fruit of the olive tree, which is only grown in certain parts of the world with specific climates and soils, limiting its supply. Additionally, the production of high-quality olive oil requires significant resources and expertise, which further restricts supply. The process of harvesting olives and extracting the oil is labor-intensive, as it requires hand-picking the fruit from trees and pressing it in a complex process that involves multiple steps.
But most importantly for our discussion is the rigorous standards. High-quality olive oil is subject to rigorous quality standards, which ensure that it meets certain criteria such as taste, acidity level, and purity. This adds to the cost of production as producers need to invest in equipment and resources to ensure that their product meets these standards.
Great Value Olive Oil At Walmart – Is It Any Good?
The tasting team at Oliveoil.com had disappointing results for this off brand olive oil. “Two of our three lowest-rated olive oils were the Walmart house brand Great Value. It’s easy to justify this poor result by pointing out the low cost: the 21 & 26¢/oz prices on these products are indeed pretty much rock bottom. But a company with the vast clout of Walmart can surely do better than this”. Some consumers have reported that Walmart’s olive oil has a bland or rancid taste, which may be due to the quality of the olives used or the production methods used to extract the oil.
So, yes. The Off Brand Guy is telling you to avoid off brand olive oil.
Olive Oil Red Flags: How To Spot And Avoid The Pitfalls Of Cheaper Olive Oil Varieties?
Look for extra virgin olive oils that have been certified by reputable organizations, such as the International Olive Council (IOC) or the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), which set standards for olive oil quality and authenticity. On reputable brands like Pompeian there is a NAOOA label on towards the bottom of the container. I was not able to locate this for the Walmart branded olive oil products.
So what is the difference between Great Value Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Organic Great Value Extra Virgin Oliver Oil? I almost got caught up thinking, well the organic stuff has to be good enough for my uses.
The Great Value Organic Olive Oil is Certified USDA Organic. This means it has been certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as meeting strict organic farming and processing standards. These standards prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and require the use of sustainable agricultural practices that promote soil health, biodiversity, and animal welfare. Here is the problem. There is still no NAOOA label. That is what matters. And cheap olive oil doesn’t have this certification.
My Go To Brand: Pompeian Smooth Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pompeian Smooth Extra Virgin Olive Oil is my go to brand. It is generally considered to be a good quality olive oil. It is made from 100% extra virgin olive oil and is cold-pressed, which means that it is extracted from the olives without the use of heat or chemicals. This can help to preserve the flavor and nutritional content of the oil. While there are many fancy brands on the market, this stuff gets the job done. The price is reasonable and this matters. Because I go through a lot of it.