Daily Archives: June 3, 2013

  • Olive Oil Production in the Mediterranean

    Over 750 million olive trees are cultivated worldwide, 95% of which are in the Mediterranean region. Most of global production comes from Southern Europe, North Africa and the Near East.
    Of the European production, 93% comes from Spain, Italy and Greece. Spanish province of Jaén is well known for the biggest olive groves in the world.

    Spain is the country with the highest number of olive trees (more than 300 million), and is nowadays the world’s leading olive and olive oil producer and exporter. Of the 2.1 million hectares (5.19 million acres) of olive groves, 92% are dedicated to olive oil production. The average annual production varies due to the cyclical nature of the harvest, but typically runs between 600,000 and 1,000,000 metric tons, only 20% of which is exported. About 80% of the crop is concentrated in Andalusia, (Jaén), the biggest olive growing area on the planet.

    In Andalusia, the most important olive oil producing areas are in the province of Jaén, where the main olive type is Picual, and other authorised varieties include Verdala, Real, and Manzanilla de Jaén, and in the province of Córdoba, where the authorised DO olive varieties include Picuda (a.k.a. Carrasqueña de Córdoba), Picual, Lechín, Chorrío, Pajarero, and Hojiblanco. DO certified Andaluz olive oils tend to be full bodied and tasty; class “A” oils have a maximum acidity of 0.4%, while class “B” oils have up to 1% acidity.

    Catalonia also produces olive oil, which tends to be on the lighter side. The principal cultivation and production areas are Les Garrigues, in the province of Lleida, and Siurana, very nearby, in the province of Tarragona, where the Arbequina variety is the main olive grown, but where other DO authorised varieties include Real [Royal], Verdiel and Morrut olives.

    Italy is the second European producer; two-thirds of the production is represented by extra-virgin oil with 37 DOP (Protected Origin Appellation) widespread on all the national territory. In Italy there are about 6.180 olive oil mills and the overall amount of processed olives in 2006/2007 was about 3.500.000 t with a production of about 600.000 t of oil. 90% of the entire oil production comes from Southern Italian Regions: Sicily, Calabria and Puglia. The introduction of new mills has increased the productivity and has decreased the need for manpower, heightening the problem related to the disposal of olive mills’ wastes due to an increased production of wastes themselves. In Italy more than 2000 t/year of olive oil wastes are produced and half of them come from Puglia Region.

    Greece devotes 60% of its cultivated land to olive growing. It is the world’s top producer of black olives and has more varieties of olives than any other country. Greece holds third place in world olive production with more than 132 million trees, which produce approximately 350,000 tons of olive oil annually, of which 82% is extra-virgin . About half of the annual Greek olive oil production is exported, but only some 5% of this reflects the origin of the bottled product.

    Greece exports mainly to European Union (EU) countries, principally Italy, which receives about three-quarters of total exports. Olives are grown for oil in Greece, with Peloponnese being the source of 65% of Greek production, as well as in Crete, the Aegean Islands and Ionian Islands.

    The most prized Greek olive variety for oil production is the Koroneiki, originating from the area of Korone in Messenia, Peloponnese. This variety grows well on mountain slopes and produces very small fruit; the high ratio of skin to flesh giving the oil its coveted aromatic qualities.

    The variety is also suited to the production of agourelaio, oil from olives that are slightly unripe. When crushed in presses that are not capable of grinding the stone, this oil is entirely free of acidity and possesses top-tier organoleptic characteristics. Because not crushing the stones reduces oil yield, production of agourélaio is limited to “boutique” presses run by entrepreneurs and small cooperatives.

    Among the many different olive varieties or cultivars in Italy are Frantoio, Leccino Pendolino, and Moraiolo; in Spain the most important varieties are the Picual, Alberquina, Hojiblanca, and Manzanilla de Jaén; in Greece, Koroneiki; in France, Picholine; in California, Mission; in Portugal, Galega; in Croatia, Oblica and Leccino. The oil from the varieties varies in flavour and stability (shelf life).

    Australia now produces some of the world’s finest olive oils, primarily due to the remarkably good growing conditions, rich soils and lack of traditional pests and diseases. Many Australian producers only make premium oils, whilst a number of corporate growers operate groves of a million trees or more and produce oils for the general market. Australian olive oil is exported to Asia and Europe where the consistent high quality is respected.

    In North America, Italian and Spanish olive oils are the best-known, and top-quality extra-virgin oils from Italy, Spain, Croatia and Greece are sold at high prices, often in “prestige” packaging. A large part of US olive oil imports come from Italy, Spain, and Turkey. The US imported 47,800,000 US gallons (181,000 m3) of olive oil in 1998, of which 34,600,000 US gallons (131,000 m3) came from Italy.

    The Republic of South Africa also produces extra virgin olive oil, with production increasing to meet demand. (From Wikipedia : Olive Oil)

    Explanation of Olive Oil Grades terms

    International Olive Oil Council

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    Over 750 million olive trees are cultivated worldwide, 95% of which are in the Mediterranean region. Most of global production comes from Southern Europe, North Africa and the Near East. Of the European production, 93% comes from Spain, Italy and Greece. Spanish province of Jaén... 
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  • Madrid in a bid to create a new ‘super’ oil

    The Spanish capital has carried out olive oil tastings in shopping centers throughout the city to determine what locals consider to be best characteristics of extra virgin olive oil , all in a bid to create a new ‘super’ oil.

    After six years of research, The Madrid Institute for Research and Rural Development, Agriculture and Food have prepared a variety of coupages, or mixtures, of extra virgin olive oils from the region, made with different varieties of olives, harvested at their prime. A multidisciplinary team made up of biologists, chemical engineers and agronomists were responsible for the selection of the best produce available in the 25 thousand hectares of olive fields located in the Community of Madrid to make up the five mixed varieties. All the mixtures on offer for tasting included the Cornicabra olive variety as a base, which is produced by the majority of farms in the region.

    Local consumers from a variety of socioeconomic and age profiles were given the opportunity to taste and give their opinion on the characteristics of each mix, in order to determine the olive oil sensory profile which was the most popular and therefore the most likely to be purchased among the Spanish population. Tasters had the opportunity to sample oils of both mild and stronger intensity that varied in color, some of which also had a spicy quality, with results indicating that overall the mild-flavored oils were deemed the most popular.

    The research was designed with the idea that, from mixes of single varietal olive oils produced locally, a new ‘super’ olive oil could be created based on the preferences of local consumers, which will hopefully become a best seller around Spain. The recipe for the unique oil will have specifically controlled collection times and strict parameters for the olive varieties and qualities that have been used in the primary oils before mixing so as to produce a uniform product and to give the consumers what they want, every time. Based on the consumer research, it seems likely that the new variety will have a mild flavor when it hits supermarket shelves.

    Sources:

    El Mundo
    ABC Espana
    Comunidad de Madrid

    By Naomi Tupper
    Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Santander

     

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    The Spanish capital has carried out olive oil tastings in shopping centers throughout the city to determine what locals consider to be best characteristics of extra virgin olive oil , all in a bid to create a new ‘super’ oil. After six years of research, The Madrid Institute... 
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  • 1

    Olive Oil Futures Market

    The Olive Oil Futures Market (MFAO) booked a €213,000 ($280,000) loss last year despite a 28 percent spike in the number of contracts negotiated in it. But its fortunes turned around in the first quarter of this year – as movements in olive oil prices sparked even more trade – seeing it end April with a profit of nearly €136,300 ($180,000).

    The market closed 2012 with nearly 98,000 contracts negotiated, up about 21,000 on 2011, and with August and December by far the busiest months.

    The average price last year was €2,083/t and the total value negotiated was nearly €204 million, up from €1,660 and €76 million in 2011.

    The Olive Oil Futures Market (MFAO) booked a €213,000 ($280,000) loss last year despite a 28 percent spike in the number of contracts negotiated in it. But its fortunes turned around in the first quarter of this year – as movements in olive oil prices sparked even more trade – seeing it end April with a profit of nearly €136,300 ($180,000).

    The market closed 2012 with nearly 98,000 contracts negotiated, up about 21,000 on 2011, and with August and December by far the busiest months.

    The average price last year was €2,083/t and the total value negotiated was nearly €204 million, up from €1,660 and €76 million in 2011.

    Futures market a “useful hedging tool”

    Manuel León, president of the Jaén-based market, told Spanish media that the vast majority of 2012’s trade took place in the last half of the year, when ex-mill prices for olive oil were rising and the outlook was poor for the next harvest.

    He said the increase in the number of contracts reinforced the market’s role “in providing a hedge against price volatility.”

    “It’s a useful tool for the industry and good price observatory,” he said.

    Those most active in the market were big companies. Many smaller companies were still unaware of the advantages of being active in the MFAO, León said.

    First quarter recovery

    The busiest month in the most recent quarter was January, when 18,000 contracts were negotiated, though leaving the market’s record for the most trade in a month still standing at 23,115 contracts, from January 2010.

    The total for the first quarter this year had reached 44,000 by April 23.

    More activity online

    The MFAO is also enjoying a spike in activity on its web site. Its trading screen received a record (since 2005) number page views – 7.9 million – in 2012, up from 1.4 million in 2011.

    The only market in the world where futures contracts on olive oil can be traded, it opened in February 2004 and made its first profit, €116,000, in 2010, but 2011’s flatline prices – reducing the need for buyers or sellers to hedge against price swings – sent it back into the red with a €300,000 loss.

    Sources
    Olive Oil Futures Market (MFAO – Mercado de Futuros Aceite Oliva)
    Mercado de Futuros Aceite Oliva aumenta 28% número contratos respecto a 2011
    Mercado de Futuros registra 136.000 euros de beneficio en el primer trimestre

    By Julie Butler
    Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

     

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    Rating: +2 (from 8 votes)
    The Olive Oil Futures Market (MFAO) booked a €213,000 ($280,000) loss last year despite a 28 percent spike in the number of contracts negotiated in it. But its fortunes turned around in the first quarter of this year – as movements in olive oil prices sparked even more trade... 
    Read More →