Exploratory survey on Culinary Argan Oil

Scientists and researchers, worldwide, have published more than 200 studies related to Argan. The recently created website https://www..arganinfo.ma strives to be a platform for the argan community, also featuring abstracts of studies and trade info. The edible, culinary version of USDA certified organic extra virgin argan oil (EVAO), gets traction and recognition in the culinary world. A versatile gourmet vegetable oil that’s tasty and nutritious works fine for chefs, foodies and Lohas customers. (Lohas: Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LOHAS )   

 

Topics such as sustainability, respectful sourcing, value chain transparency, and quality assurances are understood and addressed. Sustainability can be a major driver for success as EVAO, within the vegetable oils, can claim high rankings. But, in spite of its delicious deliverables, the global market penetration of EVAO, compared with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, is relatively small.

 

So we initiated an exploratory survey with culinary professionals; how familiar are they with EVAO; experiences, concerns: the whole nine yards of an exploratory survey. This is, to the best of our knowledge the first study under chefs, foodies, restaurateurs, 

In this blog, we introduce our format, which we presented to the scientific committee of L’Arganier, the prestigious conference held in Morocco, bi-annually for all stakeholders of the Argan community. We also present the responses on this survey we garnered in the US. The response for our survey within the Moroccan culinary community will be presented in January 2020.

 

The exploratory study 

Stakeholders relevant for professional use of EVAO – chefs, restaurateurs, culinary schools, foodies are surveyed. We created a survey form with a set of closed questions with a 5 point ranking, combined with open-end questions. Options for an in-depth interview by phone. 

The survey in Morocco is in French, the USA survey is in English. Respondents are selected based on desk research, contacts with professional organizations and social media.

Traditional, as well as experimental cuisines, are part of the study.

 

Solidifying legacy

As EVAO is unique to Morocco, it needs to solidify its presence within Morocco’s culinary world: in restaurants, in menus and recipes. A firm home base is essential to get credentials as a culinary staple, especially to be of interest in export markets. This study aims to report on the opinion of culinary professionals on EVAO. Based on intelligence gathered, recommendations on providing which information helps best to engage with the culinary community. 

 

Acting on consumer intent is one of the keys to unlocking growth. 

The promising market potential of extra-virgin argan oil (EVAO) has been touted for over a decennium in export markets. Did it live up to the promise as a staple ingredient in the culinary world or a ‘better’ alternative to its closest competitor: extra-virgin olive oil? Is there a significantly improved export volume, or market share? What is needed to facilitate EVAO’ s future? Is the perception tasty, and does it has relevant health benefits? Taste and benefits are both crucial factors needed to appeal to today’s customers. 

In addition, EVAO is one of the most sustainably sourced vegetable oils in the world.

 

The hypothesis: 

EVAO is well-known but rarely used as an ingredient in the professional culinary world. There is a lack of knowledge of its real properties and benefits – and its taste.

– chefs have mostly insufficient in-depth knowledge or familiarity with EVAO. 

– chefs don’t know where to go to get authoritative information.

– when informed, chefs are open to using EVAO in their cuisines

– Morocco has no robust home base with EVAO in professional culinary settings. EVOO is 10 times more used than EVAO.

 

Deliverables

Actual information on the use and perception of EVAO in the home and an export market.

Do culinary stakeholders think Culinary Argan oil has enough recognition to be marketed as an alternative to extra virgin olive? 

Does it have the potential to be featured as a premier culinary ingredient? 


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