Economy

Oil at the chemist’s

Extra virgin olive oil is a preventive healthcare product. It is functional food and mothers, for instance, should only choose the best oils for their children

Luigi Caricato

Oil at the chemist’s

We often hear about how hard it is to find alternative sales channels to large-scale retailers, marketing places for superior oils, where they can be sold at a price that ensures the quality of the product and a fair return to the farmer. The problem exists, but can be easily solved. There is a class of shops that has been surprisingly neglected, despite being present in every community, even the smallest. Pharmacies and OTC medication stores, but also herbalist shops, could be the new sales channel saving the compromised honour of superior oils.

The fact that up to now, no one has exploited this channel, if not in exceptional cases, could depend on the deep-rooted prejudice that oils should be judged by our senses alone, for the pure, hedonistic pleasure they give us. We are guilty of neglecting their extraordinary health benefits and nutritional properties. The paradox is that because of this ridiculous prejudice, ample space has been left to seed oils, which we all know are less beneficial to our health than extra virgin olive oils and have a markedly inferior quality.

Another paradox: the prices of these seed oils – e.g. walnut, pistachio, or pumpkin seed oil, which are doubtlessly more noble and uncommon than the mass products found in supermarkets – are extremely high, and we end up paying 8, 15 or even 40 euro for a tiny, 100-ml bottle! Why not sell oils that are truly considered as natural, functional foods, such as extra virgin olive oils? We should really start considering it as a preventive healthcare product.

Mothers should purchase the best extra virgin oils for their children. Not only pure extra virgins. Recently new products have been launched on the market that are worthy of mention. There are oils enriched with vitamins, which promote calcium absorption and can therefore prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Other innovative formulas are present on foreign markets. We should do likewise here too in our country.

Luigi Caricato

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