GOYA OLIVE OIL INTERVIEW
Recently the marketing manager of Ekulo Group of companies, Mr. Emeka Oramadike spoke to some selected media houses on Goya Extra Virgin Olive Oil, one of the premium brands of the company.
Goya extra Virgin Olive Oil is a brand that comes from Spain. The extra virgin there shows that it is the purest of the pure, gotten from the first press of the oil, devoid of any additives; it is the best you can get. The purity of the oil is what attracts most people who know it, especially in the religious circle, to use it for anointing. It is just a way of expressing the level of purity in the oil. It is not by accident. So it is the purest of the pure and from the first press of the olive oil. Olive oil is of Mediterranean origin. It is from Europe, around Spain, Italy, Greece, within that region, but it is used all over the world. It is an ancient oil with a very long History of being used for a lot of things, but it is always attached to purity-either for crowning of kings or for anointing and a whole lot of others.
QUESTION: Now that we are at it, can you break down for us the nutritional benefits inherent in using Goya Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, beyond the spiritual?
ORAMADIKE: One can look at the olive oil as the oil of life, which is how I look at it, I take Olive oil everyday. It is an anti-oxidant, it helps your heart, it helps to cleanse the blood vessels to make sure that you do not have heart attacks. It is an unsaturated fat and it is very low in cholesterol. It also lowers the level of the Lipoproteins. Thus it helps the blood flow and also lowers the sugar level and the blood pressure. Palm oil and other oils are very high in cholesterol. But this is oil that is very low in cholesterol, an anti-oxidant without any side effects. So it is highly recommended for people who are conscious of their health. If you look at records of life expectancy, according to the United Nations, out of about 200 countries in the world, Nigeria is about one hundred and eighty-something in the ranking. And our life expectancy is about 51 years in the total. Our men are expected to live 49 years while women are expected to live 51 years. When you look at other countries, Japan is about 82, Canada is 80, Germany is 79, Belgium 79, even some African countries are far up there before Nigeria. So you see that people are not taking care o their health here, so we have to do something. This is not a new idea, but it is like nobody knows. So that is why we are publicizing it, it is not only for religion, although it is quite important for religion, like in my house, we call it oil of life, my children know it as oil of God, but the health benefits are enormous. For instance, daily intake of Olive oil helps soften your stool. Like those having something like pile, it helps them, when your stool is smooth; the pile is not pushed out. It also helps to smoothen and protect your skin from sun burn and the exposure because it has Vitamin-E. It is just heavily loaded. We do not want to go too academic in this thing but we just want to pass the message to our people that this is just good oil for them, especially for those of them that are conscious of their health. A lot of people are dying of heart attack. But if you use Olive oil, you have a relief, you are sure of what you are taking.
Question: Is there a difference between Goya Olive oil and other olive oils and prior to this time, people knew Goya Olive oil as oil for spiritual purposes, how do you intend to communicate this to people, to change the perception of consumers about Olive Oil?
ORAMADIKE: The distinguishing feature of Goya Olive oil is that it is extra-virgin. Extra-Virgin is the first press, and it is the purest you can get. It is made through the mechanical way like crushing it and extracting the oil. Not using any form of chemical extract, or mixing it with anything. And the seeds are picked specially, you know when you have a heap of Olive Oil seeds, some can be wounded some could be spoilt and so many things. The extra-virgin oil, is made from the selected extra fine ones. So it is the virgin unadulterated.
As for the communication, we saw that it is getting to the point that this oil is meant for food that is why we have to involve the media. And this is just the beginning, we are going to have other ways, we are going to go to the wireless and we are going to go to the wireless. We want people to know, we want people to benefit. What is in other countries will not be strange to us. It is good that people know it as the oil of God, but it is also good that people know that there are a lot of health advantages that we can derive from the consumption of the Goya extra virgin olive oil.
Question: Goya oil was known as a spiritual sacred product, now you want to reduce it to an oil for cooking, is it not going to affect sales and perception of the oil? Also the bottles are too small and expensive, don’t you think it will be too expensive as cooking oil for poor people to afford?
ORAMADIKE: let us take the issue of perception first, the perception of Goya Olive oil as a holy oil is only a way people try to explain their appreciation of the purity of the oil. But we want people to know that apart from religious reasons, in advanced world, people use olive oil for cooking. It is meant for healthy living.
Coming to the issue of costs, we have tried as much as possible over the years to keep the costs at a level people can afford. And you know its like when you say that education is expensive, you must remember that illiteracy is more dangerous. This is something that will keep you alive, If you now know that this is something that will safeguard the life of yourself and your family, and the cost is not up to what we use to make our hair that we wash of after a week, it then makes sense for you not to ignore it. Also the idea of making it available in many sizes is so that it can be affordable to as many people as possible. So that those who can buy the three litres can buy, those who can buy the two litres can buy, those who can buy the 500ML, 300ML, etc can buy. So that is how we try to accommodate everybody, to make sure that you can go and buy a bottle of Goya Olive oil that is intact, not going to buy from somebody that will mix some strange thing and give you to go and use as olive oil. What is good may not always be very cheap. If we look at the cost of medical treatment and the cost of this olive oil, we still believe that it is not so much for one to use
Question: Who is the target market?
ORAMADIKE: The target market is everybody; look at what we are saying about life expectancy. Our life is very important but people take it for granted and that is as a result of ignorance. It’s just like when people choose to buy clothes rather than send their children to school. So we want people to redirect their priorities. So my dear, it is not too expensive if you have to spend 200 naira to buy a bottle of oil that will preserve your life, rather than going to overseas for medical treatment, infact most people cannot even afford to go to overseas, if we do not look it this way, we will not realize that we are in an alarming situation.
Question: what are the unique selling points that Goya Olive oil has over other coking oils when it is used for cooking and what unique qualities does it confer on your cooking when its is used for cooking?
ORAMADIKE: the major selling point that Goya oil has is that it is healthy oil for cooking. You are not getting too much cholesterol like you have in palm oil and all other kinds of oil vegetable oil, eg groundnut oil, cottonseed oil and the rest of the oils. You are sure that what you are eating is healthy. When it is Olive Oil, it is healthy, that is what we are telling people, that you are having oil that will save and prolong your life, oil that will reduce your chance of having heart attack, something that will reduce cholesterol, something that will keep your blood level low. That is the major thing we are telling people that is the oil of God that this is the oil of life. That is the major selling point.
The second thing is that the oil is very tasty, my wife uses it, when you use it to cook, the aroma is beautiful. If you have not used it, you will not understand what we are talking about, try it in your house, you will see what I am talking about.
Question: Goya used to be known as a spiritual oil, now that you are bringing it down to a cooking oil, what measures are you putting in place to ensure that this oil is not going to be faked?
ORAMADIKE: The major questions are, do we have fakes and what are we doing about it? We are aware that there are fakes, it is a common phenomenon in our part of the world, everything that is good comes in both original and fake. Now what are we doing? This very meeting is part of the campaign, to tell people, look, be careful about what you are buying. When you go to the market they will ask you, do you want number one or number two? Goya Olive oil is one, when they ask you do you want number two, what they are selling is fake, and anyone they tell you is number two is the fake one. Most of the times, they are in plastic bottles, that is four cornered. They go to buy vegetable oil, and package it and call it Goya oil. The easiest way to know is when you go to the market, ask them if they have number two. If they say that they have, just know that it is fake. Also Goya is in Glass bottles, it is only the three liters that is in a metal canister. We use this opportunity to thank NAFDAC. They have helped us so much; the police men have also helped us so much in trying to apprehend the fakers, those who do not want Nigerians to live long. They will bottle inferior quality vegetable oil and sell to people to drink as olive oil. It is wickedness, so we are aware of this. So we are asking you pressmen to please come to our aid, help us, help NAFDAC, to tell people that Goya is one. If they tell you that there is a number two, tell them that it is a lie. Goya is in small bottles, anyone in plastic bottle is fake.
Question: Apart from the bottle, is there any distinguishing feature between the fake and the original?
ORAMADIKE: The distinguishing feature is in the taste and the unfortunate thing is that by the time you taste, you have already bought. But we are working on it, we are going to have some security seals. Right now we do not want to confuse the public; we just want to go on with this campaign until we have a security system that will block the prevalence of fakes. Our people are very smart, if you announce it to the press now, before you have finished, the fakers have gotten what you want to do. But we are concerned about the brand and we are also concerned about the people. Our priority is not just to make money, but also to safeguard lives. We do not want people to be drinking vegetable oil in the name of Olive oil. People should also know that EKULO is the sole importer and distributor of Goya in Nigeria. The original is in bottle, but the fakes are also in bottle, but the fact is that the fakers know themselves. Now they are becoming afraid because we are using NAFDAC and the police and some market organizations to chase them and all the original ones have NAFDAC number.
Question: The movement from the pulpit to the kitchen is going to be a challenging one because of people’s perceptions of this oil as being meant for spiritual purposes, are you organizing experiential strategies to enable people connect with this change faster?
ORAMADIKE: we are organizing campaign and jingles. But then you know that habit issues are not issues that you enforce, they are what people adapt to over time. We are also having so many interviews in the print media, we are disseminating information in church bulletins, and we are trying to educate people on the dual purpose of Goya as being good for both spiritual and nutritional purposes. We also educate people on the health benefits of cooking with Olive oil, and with time, we will also get into cooking and we try some other forms of experimentation, but for now, we want to tell the story, we want to inform the people, through print, through radio, through television, and through the outdoor, we are just coming up gradually but we believe that over time, people are conscious of their life, that is why people go to India, go to America, London and so on, for their health. So when they know that so when they know that it is better to cook with this oil and you are healthy, it will help us to change our attitude.
Question: moving Goya from the pulpit to the kitchen is going to create demands as a result of increased consumption, what measures are you putting in place to ensure availability?
ORAMADIKE: we assure health and life loving Nigerians that Goya extra virgin Olive oil will be available. It is our business to make sure and we will make all the necessary provisions to make sure that it is available and also that it is within the reach of every Nigerian, and that that will not in any way push up price. We assure people that it is going to be available and that it will not push up price. We have the logistics that can do it. We assure our customers that it will not be scarce.
Question: which partnerships are you putting in place, because whether you like it or not, this product as a consumable, is going to be meant for the A-B class, before it transcends. These people have their own hangouts, places where they go to eat and unwind. Which partnerships are you forming with some big hotels that will directly leverage on their size and prominence to sell this product?
ORAMADIKE: we have sent letters, infact we have a marketing department that is handling that. It is not only hotels; we also make sure that it is in chain supermarkets in the country, not only the oil, the olive seed also you can find them in big shops. So we do not think that that is going to pose a problem because we are already working on that. They serve it in most hotels, it is a delicacy that if you request for Olive oil, they will use it to prepare some dishes for you. We are there already, it is not a problem, we appreciate the reactions of Nigerians.
~ By Mr. Ingram Adichie Osigwe,
MD/CEO Fullpage International Communications Limited.