China seems to have become newly tapped market for olive oil exporters. Its main selling point seems to be its exoticism. The allure ties in with the general notions applied in TCM wherein the more distant an item’s provenance, the higher its price, and consequently the more ‘medical’ its value. In a new market and one with a fast growing urban middleclass, there is a lot of overpriced olive oil available, much of it is low grade pomace that is extracted chemically and after all the other more desirable grades have been expressed. I don’t know just how much olive oil has entered the Chinese diet. The most common vegetable oil for homecooking is soybean as it has been for centuries. Olive oil as a skin emollient, however, is becoming extremely popular and as any marketer knows, it is only necessary to put something in a little bottle and declare the contents therein able to make a woman more beautiful in order to charge a very high price. I have come across a few closet boutiques selling nothing but little bottles of the stuff with exotic looking labels.
Even though I came across this display in Singapore of a Korean label promoting its olive oil based product, I think it serves an example of how the olive is still regarded as an exotic fruit, one for which it is necessary to resort to an image of a fancy cocktail stuffed with pimento as the best known icon.