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FOODMatch Vice President of Marketing Brandon Gross Talks Divina Olives and Debut of National Olive Day

FOODMatch Vice President of Marketing Brandon Gross Talks Divina Olives and Debut of National Olive Day

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

With a deep, rich history and effortlessly versatile taste that has secured its place as a culinary staple, olives have now taken the next steps of transcending its eternal place in American culture. This summer, will mark the first National Olive Day on June 1.

Brandon Gross, Vice President of Marketing at FOODMatch, the manufacturer of Divina specialty olives and antipasti, recently told DeliMarket News more behind the salty goodness, and what retailers can expect with the new promotable holiday, starting with a bit of a revamp to the category. 

Brandon Gross, Vice President of Marketing, FOODMatch

“For a while now, Divina has been searching for fun, new ways to drive excitement in the olive category. When you’re producing a food that’s literally thousands of years old, you’re more of a staple than a trend,” Brandon tells me as he laughs lightly about the “trending” Mediterranean diet. “The truth is, that it’s the way people have eaten healthy and deliciously for centuries.” 

Born of a need to find media-friendly ways to show olive appreciation, combined with a lighthearted “olive awareness day” joke from a team member, Divina soon pitched the idea to the National Day Calendar. Thus, National Olive Day was born. 


So why, specifically, June 1? Brandon says that the date hits consumers as a finale to Mediterranean Diet Month in May, and also as a lead-up to the arrival of this year’s Kalamata olive crop. “A lot of people don’t realize that every unique olive varietal has their own season,” says Brandon. “The date we selected allows us to kick off our most popular olive’s season and just summer in general, when a lot of olives are consumed during warm weather activities.” 

The company’s most popular olive continues to be the iconic Greek olive, the Kalamata, which ships to the U.S. in mid to early-summer. Next year, foretells Brandon, Divina looks to showcase its favorite olives and National Olive Day with demos and events, to further immerse olive lovers throughout the nation and “remind people that olives are fun,” says Brandon. “They’re about socializing, and entertaining.” 

Brandon says that Divina has big plans to bolster awareness for the United States’ first National Olive Day, from engaging retailers online to driving traffic to the neighborhood deli. The company is also enticing consumers with social media, and is encouraging its partners and retailers to do the same with promotions, media, recipes, and more.

“We’re excited to see how our social media followers and retail partners celebrate the day. Olive lovers are a passionate bunch, they feel strongly about their favorite varietals, marinades, stuffings, and so forth,” Brandon tells me. “We’re hoping to start a great dialogue over how people will enjoy this specialty.”

Perhaps the biggest drive for the olive hype at Divina, is the potential that the holiday carries for the category from this point onward. Most uniquely in the company’s plans are continuing to drive sales at olive bars, deli, specialty and grocery, where consumers match olives and antipasti with the grains, greens and proteins of their choice.

“The olive category is reliable and strong,” finishes Brandon. “As it continues to grow along with its pairing counterparts like charcuterie and cheese, we’ve noticed a large uptick in the desire to assemble and customize versus just cook. At Divina we want to continue that culinary legacy with olives, to use food as a centerpiece between family and friends.”

Keep an eye on FOODMatch and Divina as they continue to gain momentum towards the impending holiday, and watch out for online specials and contests as the company prepares to help the deli world celebrate its first National Olive Day.

Retailers who are interested in carrying Divina products, and would like help supporting National Olive Day can contact FOODMatch at [email protected] or call 212-244-5050.