Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 23:128-128 (article 44) 2000
Styrian Pumpkin Oil: The Marketing Perspective
John Paul Cook
3102 Little Creek, Alexandria, VA 22309, U.S.A.; AustriasFinest@worldnet.att.net
For nearly 300 years, Styria in Austria has been the home of the well-kept secret of pumpkin seed oil. Not only did this oil evolve as the cornerstone of Styria's diet it was also recognized for its health benefits as early as 1773. Since its introduction to the North American market Styria's superior quality pumpkin seed oil has "stopped buyers and chefs in their tracks." The excitement has not been limited to only Epicurians and natural food enthusiasts. Researchers have also begun to take an interest in discovering the nearly limitless possibilities of Austria's pumpkin seed oil. This interest was underscored in August 1999 during the first Oil Pumpkin Conference appropriately held in the home of these unique pumpkins, Austria. Aside from increasing general knowledge of this special pumpkin variety, the researchers established a network to exchange information to help overcome the Zucchini Yellow Mosaic Virus (ZYMV) that is threatening pumpkins around the world. It is hoped that by their next meeting, a natural solution will have been found to eliminate this most serious threat to pumpkin crops.
A natural solution to this problem is critical to the continuation of successful marketing of the distinctive products made from the Styrian pumpkin. Not only natural-food enthusiasts, but also gourmet clients are skeptical of the long-term effects modern farming techniques (especially chemicals and genetic engineering) have on humans and expect that the pumpkin products from Austria's Styria are grown as 'naturally" as possible making them free of chemical contamination and artificial manipulation.
The increased cooperation between international researchers will also have additional benefits to market efforts of the seedless pumpkin products. The first will be the substantiation of long-accepted "farmer's remedies."
For generations, these remedies have been accepted without scientific documentation. Unfortunately, government scrutiny and other skeptics will not accept untested claims. Another benefit will be the discovery of new uses of these products to alleviate symptoms of some of the ailments plaguing modern man. Areas of special interest are the benefits to: men with enlarged prostate, anemic women, cardio-vascular health, and as a rich source of antioxidants.
The data documenting the findings of scientists must be the foundations for the articles written to enlighten medical experts and lay readers alike. from these "neutral" publications,marketers can design promotional materials targeted at trade buyers and end use customers regarding to the beneficial qualities of these fine products.
In 1998 the European Union awarded Styria "geographical protection" (similar to the Vidalia Onion of Georgia or french Champaign) for the pumpkin and its products. The corresponding seal is the consumers' assurance that the seeds and oil bearing it are pure and have their origin in Styria. The efforts of the Austrian agricultural community (farmers, biologists, botanists and nutritionists) will "raise the stakes" ensuring that the seal also identifies the quality level against which all other pumpkin products will be measured.