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Aceite de las Valdesas

Why do we pack our olive oil in PET plastic?

On many occasions we have been asked what the reason is for packaging our olive oil in PET plastic. These questions come from various perspectives, from the point of view of oil conservation, through health, the environment and the brand image that we give to our oil.


Plastic packaging from the point of view of conservation

There are two reasons why some claim it inappropriate to pack olive oil in plastic.

  • It is said that plastic containers are porous and allow for air to pass through, and therefore the oil oxidizes. On the other hand, glass and brass are impermeable to the passage of air.

Regarding this point, we have not found any data on the value of said porosity. To what extent is it relevant within 1, 2, 5 or 10 years of an unopened container? As we understand it, it must be a really small porosity since PET plastic is used to pack water, which molecule (H2O) is much smaller than oxygen (O2). (It's a little bigger than half). We don't quite see how it can be impermeable to water but not to oxygen. If someone who reads this can give us a satisfactory answer, we would be happy to hear more.

On the other hand, once the cap or the seal of a PET, glass or brass container is opened, the porosity ceases to be relevant, because with the open cap the air passes with each use, no matter how impermeable the container is.


  • If the plastic is transparent, sunlight deteriorates the oil.

In this case we absolutely agree. This has a great impact when the oil is sold in stores and supermarkets. Stored in shop windows and shelves under sunlight or artificial light, the effect is important.

On-demand packaging and direct online sales reduce the problem because the customer receives the package at the door in an opaque cardboard box without it having been exposed to light. They can then store it in an unexposed place.


Why do you use transparent plastic?

Since we sell our oil online and light is not a problem we prefer to pack in transparent plastic. We like to be able to see the color it has and check its appearance, and for customers to see the differences in color between the different varieties we have, as well as the filtered and unfiltered oils.


Plastic containers from a health point of view

Plastic packaging has always been under suspicion for containing substances that are dangerous to the health and that could migrate into food and be ingested.

As scientific studies discover and the public authorities consequently restrict the presence of dangerous substances, we at Las Valdesas demand that our suppliers eliminate said substance from their containers, as well as request their corresponding certificate.

For example, our plastic containers are free of Bisphenol A.


Plastic packaging from an environmental point of view

The main problem we find in plastic containers is that they are not biodegradable. It is a problem not yet solved.

On the other hand, the recycling of PET plastic is already carried out in most European countries, although the use of recycled PET is restricted depending on the different European legislations. In some countries, the use of recycled PET for food packaging is already allowed. It is not yet allowed in Spain. As soon as legislation allows it and we consider that the suppliers comply with all health requirements, we will research the possibility of using it.

We are also keeping an eye on the new generation of plastic containers made with vegetable waste such as potatoes, but to this date we have only found them in solid food containers in restaurants and we understand that their shelf life is less than what is needed for olive oil packaging.

As soon as we find a container with these characteristics that allows for guaranteed storing of olive oil, we will use it.


Plastic containers from the point of view of marketing

I will share some of the questions and expressions that have come to us from clients, professionals and friends:

  • If your oil is so good, why do you pack it in plastic?
  • A high-quality oil needs a container that conveys all its excellence.
  • Is the oil in 5-liter jars the same as that in half-liter bottles? Yes.

Any marketing expert would have failed us by seeing what we do. Come to think of it, I remember my dad saying:

"We are not glassmakers; we just want to sell a fantastic oil at a reasonable price so that it can be used in any kitchen."

This premise is difficult to fulfill with glass packaging.

The advantages of plastic over the rest are:

  • It's cheap. (We don't want to unnecessarily make our oils more expensive)
  • It's light. (An important aspect to reduce shipping costs as much as possible)
  • It is resistant to breakage. (At least more than glass, so we reduce the incidence of breakages in shipments)


In summary

These are the reasons we have for packaging our oil in PET plastic.

In any case, for customers who are not comfortable with plastic containers, our olive oil also comes in glass bottles and tin cans.

Finally, we just want to emphasize that the olive oil in a 5-liter PET bottle and the olive oil in a 0.5-liter glass bottle is one and the same.