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3 2 Store Brands / December 2015 / www.storebrands.info hree-quarters of consumers agree that certain fats and oils are important to healthy eating, according to Packaged Facts. The division of Rockville, Md.-based MarketResearch.com presented its findings in "Consumer Perspectives on Fats and Oils" at the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore this past September. Although consumers pay close attention to the Nutritional Facts panel's information about fat content, they now "recognize the positive role of fats and oils in the diet," according to Packaged Facts' January Consumer Insights Survey. In 2015, olive oil was used most often in 50 percent of households, up from 37.9 percent in 2005, Packaged Facts notes, citing statistics from Experian Marketing Services' Simmons Consumer Surveys. During the same 10-year period, household vegetable oil usage dropped to 31.5 percent from 33.5 percent; pure canola oil usage remained steady at 23.1 percent compared to 23 percent; pure corn oil usage fell to 6 percent from 7.8 percent; and blended oil usage stayed virtually the same at 3.9 percent (from 3.8 percent in 2005). Interestingly, the report credits the marketing of fish oil supplements and foods fortified with omega-3 fatty acids with helping to change the public's attitude about certain fats. While only 12 percent of adults used fish oil supplements in 2015, that number is triple what it was in 2004. The report concludes that interest in specific healthier oils "is evident in consumer purchasing trends for cooking and salad oils, with use of olive oil on the rise." Trends with traction "We see the private label segment continuing to grow year-over-year as the American consumer still shops for price first over quality in most cases," says Mark Coleman, vice president of the retail division for Catania-Spagna Oils, based in Ayer, Mass. Retailers are using more manufacturers that are located strategically throughout the country as a means to reduce overall freight costs in the system, he adds, pointing to Batavia, Ill.-based ALDI Inc. as the main driver in this effort nationally. In product trends, the organic segment continues to grow as consumers look for better ingredients and demand cleaner labeling. "The American consumer is looking for open disclosure on GMOs, and we continue to see non-GMO oil requests for canola and soybean oil," Coleman reports. Trends on the horizon The future for private label edible oils is bright for two reasons, Coleman declares. "Number one, the American consumer is demanding value in the grocery store and will shop until the value is found," he says. "Number two, private label products in the year 2015 are just as good as or even better than the national brands." Retailers need to weed out the brands that only "get in the way" of a consumer choosing a store brand, Coleman asserts. "Obviously, there needs to be a national brand," but knowing which brands to keep and which ones will prohibit sales of private label products is essential, he adds. Coleman praises ALDI and Ahold USA, Carlisle, Pa., for both their savvy in choosing product mix and in merchandising products, off and on the shelf. — D. Cvetan Fattening up consumers are seeing fats and oils as an essential part of a healthy diet. ediBle oils In 2015, olive oil was used most often in 50 percent of households, up from 37.9 percent in 2005.