‘EVCO’ Coming to America Canada’s Extra Virgin Canola Oil to Target U.S. Food Service BRITTANY FARB
WATCH OUT EVOO, there’s a new EVCO in town. “We didn’t choose them, they chose us,” recalled Pristine Gourmet President Jason Persall when Bunge North America approached him about introducing his “extra virgin,” cold-pressed canola oil to the U.S., which stands to give extra virgin olive oil a run for its money. “It kind of grew from there,” added Persall, a fourth-generation farmer in Ontario, Canada. “Working with Bunge really set the stage. I don’t think we would get as far in terms of marketing and sales if we weren’t partnering with a company like Bunge that already captures such a large market we want to target. It’s a good fit for us.” Bunge is one of the world’s largest oilseed crushers and produces a diverse array of food products, such as mayonnaise, margarines and bottled oils.
We’re very excited to get this in the hands of chefs and have them create new dishes that they haven’t been able to accomplish before because all they had to work with was olive oil. 16
U.S. CANOL A DIGEST
“From Bunge’s perspective, we had been looking for some new culinary oils to basically combat the presence of olive oil, which was the only game in town [in terms of specialty cooking oil],” said Bill McCullough, Bunge’s vice president of marketing, referring to mainstream, premium oils. “We literally looked at hundreds of different expeller-pressed oils and found Pristine Gourmet’s products to be head and shoulders above the rest from a flavor, quality and overall performance profile.” After growing a successful cold-pressed oil business in Canada including canola, soy and sunflower oils, Persall will be making his American debut in partnership with Bunge in early 2014 with Pristine Gourmet’s cold-pressed canola oil. This oil is the first press (“extra virgin”) from canola seeds that is heat-controlled during extraction for maximum flavor and color.
Pristine Gourmet’s Unique Offering
Cold-pressed canola oil boasts a dark golden color and a bold, nutty flavor, differentiating it from most cooking oils, including classic canola oil, which is known for being light in texture and neutral in flavor. Although it doesn’t have as high of a smoke point as classic canola oil, extra virgin canola oil still has an estimated 380°F smoke point. “A lot of our existing customers in Canada are used to traditional canola oil as a basic ingredient, so when you introduce extra virgin canola oil, they’re taken aback quite a bit by its full, robust flavor and color,” Persall explained. “When you put it on a white dish, it just jumps out at you. They see it’s a whole new world of creativity to work with.” “We’re very excited to get this in the hands of chefs and have them create new dishes that they haven’t been able to accomplish before
JANUARY • FEBRUARY 2014
because all they had to work with was olive oil,” noted McCullough. In the first year, Pristine Gourmet will be sold specifically to food service customers, ranging from white tablecloth restaurants to college cafeterias. “It’s all about adding new flavors that resonate with consumers from Millennials to baby boomers,” McCullough added. “We feel that Pristine Gourmet really helps us reach all of our segments in the U.S. food service environment.” Persall said Pristine Gourmet had been looking into opportunities in the U.S. market for about five years. However, due to the effort and resources required to bring the brand to America, his cold-pressed canola oil remained in Canada until recently. “It wasn’t until we were approached from Bunge that we could see this opportunity really come to fruition,” Persall said. “I don’t