Olive Oil Consumer Research: Methods and Key Learnings

  • Claudia Delgado
  • Metta Santosa
  • Jean-Xavier Guinard


This chapter describes the application of consumer methodologies to the study of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Due to the multivariate nature of consumer behavior, both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed to provide a more holistic view of the consumption behavior. A focus group technique showed that the diversity of the participants’ experiences with olive oil resulted in differences in existing perceptions regarding what constitutes an EVOO and the meaning of ‘extra virgin’ and determined how the combination of considered factors influenced purchase and usage motivations. A two-stage sorting task was conducted to identify American consumers’ opinions of 25 EVOOs based on visual assessments of the bottles. The majority of the consumers perceived the EVOO bottles similarly; however the two-state sorting task allowed consumers to provide additional criteria of their perception of the products. Means-end chain analysis on the interview data revealed common grounds for consumption and buying motivations with three different consumer segments. As part of the quantitative research methods, survey research was employed to identify consumer preferences and attitudes regarding EVOO. Univariate and multivariate approaches were employed to understand how hedonic scores are related to descriptive analysis measurements. Three segments were identified using cluster analysis; the three segments agreed in the rejection of bitterness and pungency. In general, the positive drivers of liking are nutty, tea, green fruit, and green tomato. Some consumers are less sensitive to the presence of defects in EVOO and tend to like defective oils.


Consumer Group Sorting Task Canonical Variate Analysis Store Brand Consumer Segment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Delgado
    • 1
  • Metta Santosa
    • 1
  • Jean-Xavier Guinard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food Science and TechnologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA

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