The Worst Olive Oil Brand, According To Nearly 29% Of People

Most of us are probably not olive oil connoisseurs. We don't create intricate international supply chains to import a bottle of the stuff from a monastery in the Greek hinterlands, after all. Instead, we go to Aldi, Trader Joe's, or Costco for some good old branded olive oil we can use for so many purposes in the kitchen.

But, because most of us buy name brand olive oil, public opinion on which bottle may be better than others is valid. So, to find out how they rank, Mashed conducted a survey of 593 U.S.-based respondents to see which olive oil they targeted as being the worst of the bunch, choosing among six options: Bertolli, Newman's Own, Pompeian, Colavita, Carapelli, and California Olive Ranch.

Of those who responded to the survey, it turns out that most people liked Carapelli. That brand only accrued 9.95% of the vote behind which brand is "worst." Another popular brand seems to be Bertolli with only 11.13% of people saying that they disliked it. After these two, the field clumps around Pompeian, Newman's Own, and Colavita, which were all seen as mediocre options. Respectively, they received 14.33%, 17.71%, and 18.21% of the vote. As the name of the survey promises, however, one brand of olive oil easily cleared the others as the most disliked on the market. 

California Olive Ranch may be the worst olive oil, according to the survey

The brand that fell dead last in approval ratings was California Olive Ranch with 28.67% of respondents claiming that this was the olive oil they disliked the most. Such a result, however, may prompt the question of why there is a large 10% gap between the most and second most disliked brands of olive oil. It could be that most people were more familiar with California Olive Ranch than others. As Specialty Food notes, it is the fourth largest brand in the United States. So its exposure may have made it an easy target.

Another aspect could be how, in recent years, the brand has purportedly diluted its "pure Californian olive oil" with olives sourced from other regions. As Epicurious reported in 2019, California Olive Ranch realized climate change would reduce the amount of oil they could produce in the state of California. So, they began to introduce blends into their roster, which was a move that some clearly did not like. The issue was that this method resembled the ways other olive oil brands were unsuccessfully diluted. Before the change, a 2015 report by the National Consumers League showed that California Olive Ranch was one of the few brands to be found without flavor defects that would make their "extra virgin" status fraudulent.

A third possibility could be that it simply doesn't taste like much. Both Epicurious and an assortment of disappointed consumers on Reddit have commented on how mild the flavor of the brand has become, with the original poster on Reddit saying, "Is California olive oil generally milder in flavor? I feel like I remember California Olive Ranch having good flavor a few years ago, before the year they started expanding their brand to include olive oil from other countries. But now it is just flavorless to me..."