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British farmer urges shoppers to look closer to home for olive oil alternatives





As olive oil prices are set to hit an all-time high, with some premium brands due to top £16 a litre this summer, British farmers are encouraging UK consumers to look closer to home for an alternative extra virgin cooking oil.

The Guardian reported this month (7th May 2024) that olive oil prices are set to climb further this year, backed up by data from the International Olive Council that just under 2.3m tonnes of olives are expected to be produced globally this year, down from the 2.5m produced in 2023 and well below the 3.4m in 2022. 

So, what alternatives do the UK farmers have to offer to UK consumers facing sky high olive oil prices?

Adam Palmer, farmer and MD of extra virgin rapeseed oil brandlittleseedthinks now is the time for consumers to wake up and reap the benefits of the high-quality cooking oils being produced here in the UK.

He says, "There is no better time for consumers to start looking beyond the wall of olive oils they find in almost every supermarket and try extra virgin or cold pressed rapeseed oil."

How does cold pressed rapeseed oil compare to extra virgin olive oil?


Currently 1 litre of Filipo Berio extra virgin olive oil* retails at £13.85 per litre, whereas the equivalent volume of littleseed extra virgin British rapeseed oil* is £7.50 per litre.

*Prices correct May 2024


Extra virgin olive oil typically has a fruity, and sometimes peppery flavour. The flavour varies depending on the variety of olives used to make it and the region it is produced in.

Cold pressed rapeseed oil has a mild and nutty flavour compared to olive oil.

Its mellow flavour means it is ideal for a wide variety of different cooking and baking applications because it works well as vehicle for the other flavours in a recipe.

Production Process- Extra virgin and cold pressed oils are produced in the same way. The olive fruits or rapeseeds are passed through a mechanical press which quite literally presses the oil out of them. Only the oil from first pressing is bottled and no heator chemicals are used during the manufacturing process which means all the natural goodness remains.



Smoke point -The smoke or burn point of an oil is the temperature at which it begins to decompose and start to release unpleasant chemicals.

The smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is around 320°F to 375°F (160°C to 190°C).

In comparison the smoke point of cold pressed rapeseed oil is much higher at around400°F to 450°F (200°C to 240°C).

Versatility -Extra virgin olive oil is ideal for using for dressing and drizzling because of its unique and distinct flavour. However, due its relatively low smoke point, it is not recommended for cooking with at higher temperatures.

Cold pressed rapeseed oil is ideal for using cold as a dressing, as well as baking, roasting and frying. Cold pressed rapeseed oil's higher smoke point is the key to its versatility because the oil does not start to break down until it reaches a much higher temperature than olive oil.

Saturated Fat- Cold pressed rapeseed oil contains around half the saturated fat of olive oil.  7% for cold pressed rapeseed oil and 15% for extra virgin olive oil

Vitamins and Minerals

Extra virgin olive oil is known for its high content of monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is associated with numerous health benefits such as heart health and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains antioxidants like vitamin E and phenolic compounds.

Similar to olive oil, cold pressed rapeseed oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid. Additionally, it contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in a balanced ratio, making it beneficial for heart health. It's also a good source of vitamin E and antioxidants.

Food Miles

Rapeseed is widely grown here in the UK and well suited to the UK climate. Look out for British on the label and you can be sure that your bottle of oil won't have travelled far to your kitchen. The majority of olive oil is grown and produced in Europe, however due to the poor harvest, olive oil market leader Filippo Berio have reported they would be bringing in oil from South America for the second year in a row to support production. All olive oil has to be imported to the UK. Therefore, racking up more food miles that British grown rapeseed oil.

Palmer who has been growing, pressing and bottling cold pressed rapeseed oil on his Yorkshire farm for 16 years believes that the British producers of rapeseed need to come together to promote the high-quality cooking oil that is produced here on British farms.

Feeling increasingly frustrated by recent press coverage Adam says, "I read an article in a well-known British newspaper just this week that was suggesting other cooking oils that consumers could try as an alternative to extra virgin olive oil, and I couldn't believe how poorly researched it was.

In the lineup of products featured there was not a single bottle of cold pressed British rapeseed oil despite the fact it is produced in the same way as extra virgin olive oil, being rich in vitamin E, a good source of Omega 3, low in saturated fat, and great value for money.

"As producers and farmers we absolutely need to shout louder, but we need the support of the British press, health professionals and chefs to bring attention to the high quality, nutritionally rich cooking oils being made here in the UK."


Photo: Littleseed MD Adam Palmer in a field of rape Adam Palmer in a field of rape

For more information or to arrange an interview with Adam Palmer,please contact Jo Satariano, Brand Marketing Manager at littleseed on:

Direct line: 01759 369573

Mobile:07805 707816



About littleseed

Littleseed are a brand on a mission toget the UK cooking wholesome and delicious food every day with extra virginBritish rapeseed oil.

Dedicated to producing a simple, natural product, littleseed aim to educate and inspire people

to take the health and environmental benefits of extra virgin British rapeseed oil into their

hearts and their homes. littleseed has a distinctive, earthy, nutty taste and can be used for baking, drizzling, dipping or roasting and frying. It's also a good carrier of flavours for a variety of dishes - and can be easily used as an alternative for more expensive, less nutritionally packed ingredients. What's more, it's made using British rapeseed, pressed on the brand's Yorkshire farm - so consumers know it's GM free.

Why Use Cold Pressed Rapeseed?The process of cold pressing means that the seeds are simply crushed to release the oil. This process retains the majority of theminerals, vitamins, enzymes and trace elementsthat makes the oil nutritionally important.


Omega 3

Eleven times more omega 3 than olive oil (11% total)

The essential fatty acid that the body doesn't produce itself, and must be obtained through food


Healthy Fats

Littleseed oil contains 59% monounsaturated fats, which promotes healthy cholesterol

Less than 1% trans fats

One of the lowest saturated fats of any oil


Heating Point

Cold pressed rapeseed oil can be heated to around 220°C - 230°C, much higher than olive oil

High temperatures do not spoil its antioxidants, character, colour, flavour - or its health benefits