Link To Guest Website:

Title: “Producing America’s Oils For Cooking & More Since the 1900s”
Guest: Stephen Basile – Catania Oils
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jeffrey (1s):
Well, hello, everybody. Welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs. My name again is Jeffrey Davis. I am the host of Radio Entrepreneurs, also CEO, founder of Mage LLC. And that is a management consulting firms. Since 1985. We’ve worked with over 700 leaders and family business leaders to help them in the transition and growth of their firms. Our next guest I’m proud to say was a family business association, large category winner. Welcome to Stephen Basile, president of Catania oils. Welcome Steve.

Stephen (35s):
Welcome. Thanks executive vice-president, but I won’t, I won’t tell my brother that I overtook him yet, but that’s okay.

Jeffrey (43s):
Well, I apologize. We can, you know, maybe I’ll get you a promotion. It’d be good consultant. That would be nice. You know, again, I think I told you offline, I think the company is somewhat of a secret and as I said, you won the large business category. So why don’t you tell our listeners a little bit about the company because it’s really quite something yeah.

Stephen (1m 1s):
Ha having to do so Jeffrey Catania oils were a fourth generation family owned processor and packer of plant-based oils out of air Massachusetts. The company was founded by my great grandfather around 1900 or so were actually the roots of the business. Go back to 1900 and Sicily, but he came here looking to start. The family business started selling oil house to house. And my grandfather took over doing a lot of the same things. And from there he realized it was a lot of hard work and you decided, Hey, why am I doing this? Why can’t I sell restaurants directly manufacturers directly? And then even retailers, every family has then taken the business a little bit further, but I mean, I think if you were to walk into your, your pantry and pick up a bag of snack food or bakery items, or open up your refrigerator and pull out Manet’s dressings, Catania’s oils is a product and a lot of those items, as well as if you were just to go to your corner restaurant, and maybe you asked for oil at the table or the, the oil that your French fries fried in, and then obviously a bag

Jeffrey (2m 8s):
Of potato chips

Stephen (2m 11s):
Bag of potato chips, right? So like you pick up any, any bag of potato chips more than likely Catania oils was, was used to fry those chips in.

Jeffrey (2m 20s):
And my wife is a connoisseur of telling me all the different oils that she thinks are making chips and how they taste different.

Stephen (2m 27s):
Yeah, there there’s some truth to that. I mean, we have some customers who swear by cotton seed oil that it gives the chip a nice flavor and others are, are less picky. And you know, sometimes they’re looking for something that for a different application or for a different marketing reason, like they want something that’s non genetically modified or organic, you know, better for you right now. The huddle oil is avocado oil and we’re seeing a lot of retailers actually put private brands out there, you know, store brand avocado oil, putting it on the shelf. Avocado has been a real hot, hot oil as of late, for sure.

Jeffrey (3m 1s):
Okay. Well, let’s go with the flow. Why avocado?

Stephen (3m 5s):
It’s kind of like one of those, you know, superfoods, but it has a really high smoke point. It’s like 500 degrees. It’s probably the highest smoke point of any oil. In addition to that, when you compare it to the nutritionals of olive oil, they’re almost identical. So if you were to kind of use extra Virgin olive oil sautéing and high heat, the chances are you’re probably gonna smoke it, burn, burn the food, really not give you a good experience with that dish. So instead of using a hundred percent extra Virgin olive oil and that specific application, you might want to use something that’s a little bit higher smoke point like avocado. And then if you want some olive oil flavor, you can always finish it just along the top afterwards.

Jeffrey (3m 42s):
So that, is there a different shelf life in these different oils?

Stephen (3m 46s):
Yeah, I mean the recommended best by date for extra Virgin olive oil is 18 months. Most traditional vegetable oils that you see on there are other plant-based oils that you’re seeing on the shelf is 24 months. But, you know, just because 24 months goes by, doesn’t necessarily mean all the oil is bad. I mean, you open up any oil and you smell it. I mean, you can probably pretty much understand what rancid is, what rancid oil is, but there are other things that go into that too. So it’s just because we say 24 months doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get the 24 months because it all goes like how you storing it, right? If you storing the bottle of oil next to your oven and it’s, you know, taking a lot of heat or sunlight, that’s all stuff that’s going to degrade the oil, you crack, you crack the oil open, air’s getting at it.

Stephen (4m 31s):
So again, that’s another thing that’s, you know, slowly kind of turning that oil rancid every day. But you know, most people when they crack a bottle of oil that they’re using it within a few months. So the biggest thing is taking care of that oil to make sure that you’re getting the most out of the shelf life.

Jeffrey (4m 48s):
Interesting. Tell us a little bit about the family because you know, it’s, multi-generational now and you’ve been able to work together, you know, is there, you know, just like the oils being special, is there a special formula that you think works for the family?

Stephen (5m 2s):
You know, the, the family has, you know, we’ve, we’ve continued to grow the business and every family member has been in various different roles within the business. My brother’s company, president, my uncle is still heavily involved. One of my uncles just retired after 50 years, he still has a son involved in sales, brothers and sisters in sales and logistics and other parts of the operation. And, you know, everybody’s kind of comfort comfortable at where they’re at and everybody’s contributing to the business to continue to grow it. And as we continue to grow and there’s more positions that open that they may be suitable for there, they’re kind of giving consideration, but we still go through the hiring process, like as if we were bringing somebody in from the outside.

Stephen (5m 48s):
So just because, you know, there may be a wisher desire of a family member to take on a specific role doesn’t necessarily mean it might be the best role suited for them. So we just kind of take, take that into consideration as we go through all the, all the hiring process.

Jeffrey (6m 3s):
Do you have an active board of directors?

Stephen (6m 6s):
We don’t necessarily have an outlet. So you’re talking about outside outside directors could be

Jeffrey (6m 11s):
Just the family.

Stephen (6m 15s):
Yeah, we do. The other thing that we’re talking about is like, you know, external board of advisors, not necessarily like the board of directors or you’re talking about, but yes, we do have a board of directors,

Jeffrey (6m 24s):
Right? So no board of advisors as of yet,

Stephen (6m 27s):
Not as of yet, but it’s one of those things that we continue to talk about. And one day I’m sure we will move forward with that.

Jeffrey (6m 34s):
All very interesting. So where do you see the industry going and what’s coming on the horizon? You know, I could never have predicted that the avocado oil a few years ago, I’ve been in the food business my whole life and you know, it’s, it’s a new thing. So what’s coming next.

Stephen (6m 51s):
Yeah. I mean, honestly, I don’t see anything that’s like right now, the focus is on a avocado oil and just making sure that the supply chain is where it needs to be, because I mean, all supply chains and supply chain of all things are an absolute disaster right now, when you’re talking about raw materials, you’re talking about packaging, I call it even the supply chain of labor. Everybody’s dealing with those, you know, major issues right now. And some of the things that we have coming down the pipeline, a more innovative, maybe because of it’s a different packaging or something, that’s kind of new to the industry, but not necessarily, you know, what’s that new, next hot oil that’s, that’s kinda like right out there.

Jeffrey (7m 30s):
And if somebody wants to learn more about the company, how could they do that?

Stephen (7m 34s):
Yeah. You can go visit, C a T a N I a oils,

Jeffrey (7m 44s):
I want to thank you for being on the show today and remind everybody, this is radio entrepreneurs. Can I make sure that you won’t be a stranger for so long and then you’ll come back?

Stephen (7m 52s):
Yeah, we’d, we’d love to come back maybe a in the next 12 months or so after we finish our building expansion that we’ve got going on.

Jeffrey (7m 59s):
Great. I remind everybody, this is radio entrepreneurs and stay tuned for more stories.

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