When purchasing large amounts of olive oil, you want to make sure you get what you’re paying for. This isn’t a category where price is the only consideration. You should research potential suppliers by asking these three questions:
- Are you the producer? Buying directly from the producer will save you money by cutting out the middleman. The producer has full control of the supply chain from harvesting the olives to packaging it. Dealing with the producer ensures the product you receive has a reduced risk of adulteration, cross-contamination and other food safety issues. You’ll also receive a constant flavor profile and quality when you buy producer direct.
- What does quality assurance documents your processing facility have? Your supplier should be able to provide standard manufacturing certifications such as BRC, ISF, ISO 22000 and HACCP. The should also be able to provide any grade specific needs such as USDA Organic, Non-GMO and Kosher. Once you have determined their certifications, take your interview to the next level, and ask where the olive oil is tested. Very few supply companies or producers have an on-site IOC accredited laboratory for chemical and organoleptic analysis. It is important that if the producer or supplier does not have an IOC accredited lab that you ask for quality assurance documents to ensure the product you paid for is what you receive.
- Can you meet my timetable for delivery? You’ll save money if you can purchase a container direct from the producer. The lead time is normally 8-10 weeks. You’ll want to confirm that the overseas producer processes all import paperwork, accepts US payments and will remain available to answer your questions in a US time zone. Is inventory available locally to cover my immediate needs? There may be times when you need a few drums to carry you over until the container arrives.
Finally, you should feel comfortable that you’re buying a quality olive oil from a producer who has been in business for many years.