All in the oil

Local olive oil producer shares concerns about the industry

The independent American olive oil industry is encountering troubles, especially from corporations and alternative oils, according to a recent article in Olive Oil Times.

That news came out of the 2014 New York International Olive Oil Competition, where Gregg Kelley, CEO of Chico-based California Olive Ranch, spoke about the future of his industry. He said he’s optimistic, but small growers are facing increasing pressure from big brands, mostly due to prices and the average consumer’s lack of understanding of the difference in quality among oils.

He added that there is increased competition among other types of oils, particularly coconut and avocado, which are rising in popularity.

California Olive Ranch is the largest olive oil producer in the United States, but Butte County is home to half a dozen high-quality olive oil companies. Oroville’s Berkeley Olive Grove 1913 took home a gold award at the competition for its California Mission Classic olive oil.