Olive & Oil 03/03/2014

The development of a powdered olive oil and market study aiming at its commercialization

The molecular gastronomy is a science that is increasingly expanding, allowing the transformation of traditional food products into innovative products, thereby raising their sensory characteristics, appreciated by the population

Molecular gastronomy is distinguished from traditional food science because the object of study is the preparation of food in small scale rather than large scale (industrial). But more than that, the molecular gastronomy treats food as a whole: the ingredients, following preparation and finally how food is appreciated by consumers. It is therefore a highly interdisciplinary subject involving physics, chemistry, biology and biochemistry, but also physiology and psychology.

Molecular gastronomy is a culinary trend created by the cooperation of chefs and scientists and it has been defined as the scientific study of deliciousness. Mistakenly seen as a cooking style, molecular gastronomy is a scientifically oriented approach towards understanding the basic mechanisms occurring during cooking.

Virgin olive oil from a commercial brand was used to produce the powdered olive oil. Additives were also used to produce different variations of the product, namely garlic, parsley, oregano, paprika and food coloring (red).

Olive oil is a traditional Mediterranean product that gives a unique taste and aroma to food, and that possesses many identified benefits to human health. Whether in a traditional kitchen or in a more sophisticated one, the key is to choose a quality olive oil and to know how to form the right combinations. Therefore, when buying olive oil, the consumer must make the choice according to the intended use. The stronger olive oils more easily override the flavors of delicate foods while very light olive oils can be unnoticed on plates with strong flavors.

The product developed incorporated different additives, so as to give different possibilities of usage, according to the type of food, the preparation/recipe, or even the desired presentation. The five different variations of the product were then: powdered olive oil with garlic, with parsley, with oregano, with paprika and with food coloring, red in the present case.

The powdered olive oil prepared in the basic form, without additives, can be used for example in a cucumber salad.

The powdered olive oil with garlic, due to the strong flavor of garlic would be suitable for flavoring fish dishes, regardless of the preparation mode, or meats aimed at grilling.

The variation with oregano would be suitable to prepare pizzas in the Mediterranean style, for example, or to accompany cheese snacks.

As to the powdered olive oil with parsley, it could easily incorporate grilled fish dishes, and it would result well also on fried potatoes.

The paprika variety would be suitable for a very wide variety of applications, when aimed at producing a hot dish. Still, some examples could be also pointed out, such as to prepare stews, or to prepare small appetizers.

Finally, the powdered olive oil with red colorant would be suitable for flavoring a wide variety of salads, especially with ingredients that would provide some color contrast, like lettuce, radish, cucumber, corn, white cabbage, asparagus, among others.

The product was presented to potential consumers and some questions were asked so as to identify the potential for commercialization. The sample consisted of 66 individuals, of which 22 were male and 44 female, with ages comprised between 20 and 80 years old.

The results of the market study show that 91% of the inquired does cook regularly, and therefore they are target consumers. The great majority of the respondents like olive oil (98%), which is a characteristic very common in the Portuguese population, given the ancient and intense usage of olive oil in traditional cooking. Regarding the situations where the respondents usually use olive oil, 17% said for frying, 25% for roasting, 30% in salads and 28% in stews.

As to the new product, when asked if they would buy powdered olive oil, 68% responded yes and 32% said they would not buy it. This result is not surprising given the fact that olive oil in its traditional presentation (liquid form) is a very old product and very much used. When the question refers to the buying intention of powdered olive oil with flavors, the results slightly improve, with the buying intentions rising to 72%. This result would also be expected, given the fact that in this case the new product would not be seen so much as a direct competitor to the traditional liquid olive oil but also like a different new product. As to the results of the question regarding the flavors in the powdered olive oil, 34% would like it with garlic, 32% with oregano, 25% with parsley and only 9% with paprika. Because the powdered olive oil produced with natural red coloring would not affect flavor, this variety was not included in this particular test. These results are also not surprising, because the ingredients like garlic, oregano and parsley are very much used in the traditional Portuguese cuisine.

In respect to the possible usages of this new product, 32% of the inquired would use the powdered olive oil to prepare stews, 22% would use it for roasting, 21% in salads, 18% in soups and only 7% for frying, which is an expected result, given the solid presentation of this new product.


Raquel P.F. Guiné, Ana Dias, Ana Peixoto, Maria Matos, Marta Gonzaga, Margarida Silva, Application of molecular gastronomy principles to the development of a powdered olive oil and market study aiming at its commercialization, International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, Volume 1, Issue 2, June 2012, Pages 101-106, ISSN 1878-450X

di R. T.