If there’s one thing besides salt and pepper that essentially all kitchens have in common, it’s cooking oil. Well, that and at least one cheesy pun cooking apron. But when it comes to cooking oils, there’s really one that rules supreme as the healthier, tastier choice—olive oil.
The oil we olive
Ok, but really, we do love our olive oil. This Mediterranean and Middle Eastern staple has been a part of our collective food culture for thousands of years and has consistently grown its global popularity ever since the pressing of the very first olive.
Olive oil is highly versatile and has dozens of uses beyond cooking where it shines for its taste and health benefits. It’s both high in the “good” fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated omega-3 and -6) and low in the “bad” fats (saturated), making it a much healthier alternative to other cooking oils. In 2016, the New York Times reported that Americans consider olive oil as one of the top healthy foods, and we’ve seen it become one of the stars to healthy eating trends and recent diets, such as Keto.
Recent years have seen explosive growth in the olive oil industry, making it one to pay attention to in the US CPG (consumer packaged goods) market and why we believe Graza has the potential to become a household name.
The olive oil market & Graza
US olive oil consumption has experienced substantial growth over the past two decades, with approximately 406,000 tons consumed in 2021, up from 214,000 tons 20 years ago. We are far past the
In 2021, the global olive oil market size was valued at $13.77 billion and is expected to grow to over $14 billion in 2022 and over $17 billion by 2029. In the US, olive oil has experienced tremendous growth over the past couple of years. 2020 saw the olive oil category grow by 25% overall as well as the largest increase in the number of US households stocking olive oil—up to 43%.
This growth can be largely attributed to two major factors—the pandemic and a growing awareness of the health benefits of olive oil. In 2016, the New York Times reported that Americans consider olive oil as one of the top healthy foods, and we’ve seen it become one of the stars to healthy eating trends and recent diets, such as Keto.
Graza is an omni-channel olive oil company that sells top-notch extra-virgin olive oils (EVOO) at prices that won’t break the bank. Both products (Drizzle 500ml finishing oil and Sizzle 750 ml cooking oil) are never blended and made from single varietal Picual olives sourced from Jaen, Spain, a prosperous agricultural region. Graza comes in proprietary chef-inspired and first-to-market squeeze bottles.
Even though it’s typically a low-cost kitchen staple, olive oil, like wine and other collectable CPG products, has many very high-end offerings. Graza bridges these two worlds of olive oil by providing a very high-quality oil that tastes amazing and competes on value with its affordable price.
Graza’s positioning cuts right through the middle of the archaic olive oil industry. The highest quality EVOO offerings come at price tags and formats that simply don’t lend themselves to usability, and rely heavily on a romanticized European essence that leads to them sitting on consumers shelves for months on end.
"Made to be used," Graza celebrates a diversity of culinary communities, which enables consumability and repeat purchase. Starting out as a DTC (direct-to-consumer) product, Graza has already built a buzz-worthy digital presence through organic growth from social media, culinary thought leaders, key brand partnerships, and high-profile editorial coverage (Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, CNN, and many more). As an emerging brand, they are quickly maturing into a high-growth competitor in the space and expanding into retail and restaurants throughout the US.
Why we drizzle and sizzle with Graza
We first announced our investment into Graza back in June when we publicly launched the Sweater Cashmere Fund. Since then, we’ve shared a bit on why we love them, but we’d like to share more on what convinced us this was an investment opportunity with high potential.
Experienced team & leadership
Graza founders, Andrew Benin and Allen Dushi have impressive backgrounds with decades of growth and operational experience in the CPG industry. They come to Graza from leadership and expansion roles at companies like Magic Spoon, Casper, Warby Parker, and JACHS. They are very knowledgeable about the olive oil space and how to overcome supply chain challenges.
They’ve created a truly differentiated product within the EVOO market—single-source, high-quality, low cost, and a unique and exceptionally functional product design. The chef-inspired squeeze bottle is lighter and easier to control in the kitchen, and it’s fully opaque and induction sealed to help keep the oil fresh (i.e. away from light damage). The consumer gets the ease of a squeeze bottle with a superior product quality that rivals fancier, glass bottles on the market.
Early omni-channel traction
As we mentioned earlier, the olive oil market is booming and growing in popularity in the US. We only see this trend continuing to go up, and Graza is already quickly proving market fit to secure its places in kitchens across the US.
Since launching in January 2022, the Graza team has experienced strong early growth, currently selling through hundreds of retail doors including Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, Foxtrot, and specialty retail shops. Additionally, the high-quality nature of the product has attracted impressive restaurants, chefs and influencers, such as Michelin-starred The Four Horsemen in Brooklyn, Suerte ATX, Molly Baz, and Chrissy Teigen.
The Graza team are very strategic in how they attract new customers while keeping their spend considerably low. They’ve secured great partnerships with influencers that truly believe in the product and use it daily.
Graza’s unique product and cost-effective acquisition strategy set it worlds apart from the competition. We’re really excited to embark on this journey with them. Even as the economy is heading into a downturn, they are currently looking at a 5x revenue multiple for 2022.
When we look at the olive oil market during economic downturns, there actually tends to be an increase in olive oil usage and sales as people spend less time going out to eat and turn to their kitchens where olive oil is an essential staple.
Want to see what the Sizzle is all about?
You can purchase a combo pack of “Drizzle” and “Sizzle” right from their site—trust us, you won’t be disappointed. And as always you can find more details about our investment in Graza and other amazing companies shaping the future of how we live by downloading the Sweater app and joining our community.