US Retail Giant Costco Drops Greek, Switches Back to Italian for Private Label Olive Oil

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Fans of all things Greek were elated with the news over a year ago that Costco was switching to Greek olive oil for its own private label brand it calls Kirkland. That little green cap— was being replaced by a blue one.

US retail giant Costco ended its brief love affair with Greek olive oil for its Kirkland private label brand, after only one year of sales, according to a story in Olive Oil Times, the industry’s foremost publication on matters pertaining to the liquid gold.

In April of 2015, Costco made headlines when they dropped Italian providers, following news of corruption, a crop bug that ravaged millions of trees, reports of bad quality oils and, of course— increase in price.

“Pricing was through the roof, so we decided to make the switch and change to 100 percent Greek oil for a year,” according to Costco buyer Chad Sokol in the Olive Oil Times story.

But after the 14-month long relationship, Costco is switching back to Italian, because, according to Sokol, “It was what members wanted. They’re used to what they’re used to and there’s a perception that Italian EVOO is top-of-the-line.”

Sokol continued that even he, himself, a top olive oil expert, preferred the Greek EVOO in blind taste testing, but in the end, the Costco members spoke— and the company listened.

“It was what members wanted. They’re used to what they’re used to and there’s a perception that Italian EVOO is top-of-the-line. The Greek oil did OK — I myself preferred it in a blind tasting — but it was not quite as strong a seller. And pulling our buy out of Italy was significant. Their pricing came down as a reaction, and that was our hope as well,” Sokol told the Olive Oil Times.

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