Q&A with Bill Monroe, CEO of Pompeian Olive Oil

Bill Monroe, CEO of Pompeian Olive Oil, tells Grocery Headquarters how Pompeian continues to grow the olive oil category.

What is the biggest obstacle the olive oil category is facing at the moment?

Bill Monroe: The olive oil category has seen minimal growth over the last few years—about 1%, down from where it was about five years ago in double digits. It’s mostly due to the economic situation. The consumer is choosing either another substitute for oil or less high-end foods that call for olive oil, and I think its finally affected the category.

How is Pompeian continuing to grow in this economic climate?

There are a few markets leaders; Pompeian in one of them. This year’s sales have been double-digit growth for all flavors and varieties of Olive Oil.

Part of the reason were growing is because of our innovation. What we have done is not only looked at the olive oil category but the entire pourable oil category. I believe that the only way to continue to grow the category is by looking at blended olive oil products to bring in the consumer. They are healthier than regular olive oil and less expensive. This segment, which we call the blended healthy oil segment, is growing.

How is Pompeian competing against other blended products?

In the olive oil category, you can no longer just sell olive oil. You have to be able to develop new tastes. Pompeian has earned a lot of credibility in this category because of the innovations it has introduced over the last several years both in packaging and great-tasting flavors by using olive oil or grapeseed oil as a base. These innovations have been recognized—even the packaging has won an award.

Its not just about growing Pompeian but helping the retailer grow the entire category. We suggest that retailers display our new products, Olive Extra, Olive Extra Plus, Olive Extra Mediterranean and Grapeseed Oil, next to the olive oil section. We aren’t just selling olive oil, we are a spokesperson for the category.

What should retailers look forward to from Pompeian in the coming year?

Pompeian will continue to work with retailers to identify new trends and provide recipe information for their websites. We are looking to tie in with health and food events at retail locations.

Pompeian will also continue to look at new product development, introducing new flavors and innovations in order to continue to grow the category.

How can retailers help educate consumers about your product?

There is a lot of good health information provided on our website as well as Facebook. Its all about recipes and keeping the consumer involved; we offer retailers recipes with special hangers, stickers and on-pack information.

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