Know Your Oil

Olive Oil Storage

It has been documented that buyers of food products, especially liquid beverages, want to see the product itself before they make a decision to purchase it. Olive oil producers find themselves in a conundrum relating to this.  Consumers are influenced by not only the name of the product, the logo/label, style of package, and the ingredients, but also the color of the product and the texture of it.  Therefore, food and beverage producers opt to place their products in a clear container, be it plastic or glass.

However, olive oil producers find themselves in a dilemma when facing this issue, often trying to tap into their inner poetic and philosophical selves, taking cue from Shakespeare, to answer the question, ‘to go clear or not to go clear’?

The reason why this is such an important question for choosing the right bottle for manufacturers is because incorrect storage, even for a short period of time, can reduce the quality of olive oil, sometimes to a level where the oil can no longer be classified as extra virgin.  Yes, that is correct.  That even though olive oil could be bottled as extra virgin, its storage, its voyage to the supermarket shelves, and then to the homes could have a significant effect on the quality of the oil, perhaps even making it rancid.

As we know, olive oil has certain beneficial qualities about it, and two of its enemies are light and high temperature.  It has been tested that exposure to light and high storage temperature have a detrimental effect on the quality of the oil.   Without getting into too much science because, which will just bog everyone down with unnecessary detail (and will probably make this the last sentence you read from this informative [keep reading, I promise!] piece), the exposure to light has been shown to negatively affect the organoleptic assessment of the oil.

The significant decrease in antioxidants (especially α –tocopherols), as well as the increase in K268 (indicating the production of compounds producing unpleasant flavours) were good indicators that the oil had been exposed to light and the quality of the oil has decreased.  Storing at high temperatures also has similar affects.

Overall, results showed that shelf life of the oils exposed to light is shorter than that of oils kept in the dark, and that after only 2 months of exposure to light the oils examined could no longer be considered as extra virgin.

Therefore, what do you take from this?  Well, for starters, that when buying an olive oil, you as a consumer should immediately notice the colour of the bottle that the olive oil is presented in.  If the olive oil is in a clear bottle, then chances are that what you are buying is not extra virgin olive oil anymore, even though at one point it probably was.  I know it’s tempting to buy a bottle that is clear because you see the golden color of the olive oil that manufacturers know is a selling point for consumers.  However, they are compromising quality for sales.  Don’t make that mistake.  Purchase oil that is in a dark tinted bottle, such as antique green or black (as evo3 is), or in a tin can.  You will thank me in the long run.

Another thing that you could look at is the information on the back label.  Some producers explain the process of storing their olive oil from the factory to the supermarket shelves, including the temperature.  Ideally, olive oil should be stored in a dark cool place, of 18 C.  This will increase its shelf life and keep the quality high for a longer period.

evo3  strives for keeping you informed of our production process and storing practices, and of keeping the quality of our organic olive oil high so it can reach your home that way and you get exactly what you are expecting.

Get informed and be smarter…