Monthly Archives: November 2013

  • Greece jazzes up olive oil to boost sales

    Greek agriculturist Giorgos Paraskevopoulos tastes olive oil like the French taste wine: all the senses must be engaged. “Selecting a good-quality olive oil is a lot like picking a fine bottle of wine – it must have excellent aroma, taste and appearance,” he said in the southern resort of Costa Navarino, where the annual olive oil harvest is in full-swing.

    The resort near the city of Kalamata, which lends its name to a meaty olive variety popular the world over, is at the centre of a new push by Greece to revamp its olive oil industry during the economic crisis. Thousands of acres are being planted, and new mills are being built. Producers are investing in fancy packaging and marketing to lift the profile of Greek olive oil.

    Greece was the largest producer of olive oil in the ancient world. In recent decades, the trade has become almost solely dependent on exports to Italy, which buys some 60 per cent of Greece’s annual olive harvest. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company said in a report that Italian companies were making a 50 percent premium on the price of the olive oil they produce and sell using Greek olives.

    “Greece is the world’s third-largest producer of olive oil and in the past five years we have seen a new trend in the overall rise of olive oil exports – mainly by olive oil producers who are now bottling and branding the product as their own,” says Grigoris Antoniadis, president of the Hellenic Olive Oil Packers Association.

    “On a good year, Greece produces 300,000 tons of olive oil,” says Antoniades, who estimates that this year’s harvest will be around 50 percent less of what it was last year, mainly due to unfavourable weather conditions which saw little rain during the spring. Sarantos Polyzois, who runs a modern olive mill in the village of Kremmydia in Messinia and exports his 1000 Horia (1000 Villages) to Germany and Austria, says Greek olive oil is facing an identity crisis.

    “We need to explain to foreign consumers why its worth selecting Greek olive oil, rather than Italian or Spanish. We need to make it clear why we are different and due to geography and climate Kalamata olive oil is among the best in the world.” Last year, Greek olive oil exports were up 24 percent in Germany and 67.5 per cent in China.

    That figure is likely to increase as companies producing top quality oils are cutting prices to boost exports. “Greece did not know the modern art of marketing itself to consumers – its products are great but they were unknown on the world market – until now,” says Peter Poulos, who together with Marina Papatoni founded the Navarino Icons brand three years ago.

    “We recognised a need for high quality, beautifully packaged Greek food and cultural products in the international market place.” Today, extra-virgin olive oil by Costa Navarino can be found at high-end stores across the globe, including Dean & DeLuca in the United States, Harrods and Marks & Spencer in Britain, as well as shops in Hong Kong and Singapore.

    “We are actively looking to expand into markets where we know consumers appreciate the quality of Greek products including the rest of the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Asia and Australia,” says Poulos. Many farmers still harvest olive by hand, refusing to use mechanical shakers.

    “The best olive oil is extra-virgin olive oil which has less than 0.8 acidity,” says Paraskevopoulos, adding that the more than 10,000 trees producing the Koroneiki variety olive at Costa Navarino have acidity oil levels under 0.3. “You want to choose olive oil from the most recent harvest. Like with wine, different seasons and different years make for unique oil – but unlike wine, fresher is better,” he adds.

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    Greek agriculturist Giorgos Paraskevopoulos tastes olive oil like the French taste wine: all the senses must be engaged. “Selecting a good-quality olive oil is a lot like picking a fine bottle of wine – it must have excellent aroma, taste and appearance,” he... 
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  • The Mighty Olive Offers Vast Array of Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars

    Sam and Carol Braslow recently opened The Mighty Olive in the Laurelwood Collection in East Memphis.

    When Sam Braslow’s family sold A. Schwab on Beale Street two years ago, he thought he was finished with retail. Then he and his wife Carol visited an olive oil and vinegar store in Pensacola. They were hooked.

    “We couldn’t believe Pensacola had an oil and vinegar store, and there wasn’t one in Memphis,” Braslow said.

    Six months later, the couple opened The Mighty Olive, a-taste-before-you-buy store offering dozens of artisan olive oils and balsamic vinegars merchandized in stainless steel tanks called fustis. The oils and vinegars come in small, medium, or large-size bottles and in sampling and gift packs.

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    Here’s how shopping at The Mighty Olive works: A sign on each fusti describes the flavor of the oil or vinegar, along with suggested food pairings and crush dates. (That’s the date oils are made.) Customers sample whatever sounds appealing with small tasting cups and chunks of sourdough bread. The number of choices is remarkable: single variety olive oils, infused oils such as wild mushroom and sage, and balsamic vinegars such as aged red apple.

    Along with the oil and vinegars, the store sells a charming selection of kitchen accessories, artisan chocolates including Frans (a favorite of both Oprah and President Obama), and private label pastas. A bar also stretches across the back of store, where the retailers will host tastings, cooking demonstrations, and private parties.

    After spending a delightful 30 minutes in The Mightly Olive, I purchased orange/vanilla white balsamic vinegar (sprinkle it on fruit salad) and organic butter infused olive oil (try it on baked potatoes). When I got home, I was so enthused about my shopping that I sent Braslow a few extra questions about the finer points of shopping at the couple’s new store.

    Memphis Stew: You sell both fused olive oil and infused olive oil. What is the difference between the two?
    Braslow: Fused olive oils are produced in the northern hemisphere which would include California, Tunisia, Italy, etc. It’s typically made at the tail end of the season in the winter with late harvest olives so that the flavors coming from the olives will not dominate the herb, fruit, or vegetable being crushed with them. By comparison, our naturally infused olive oils are infused with natural essential plant oils.

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    Memphis Stew: Some recipes call for white balsamic vinegar. How is white balsamic different from dark?
    Braslow: White balsamic is made from the same white Trebbiano grape as the dark. White balsamic blends the white grape with white wine vinegar and is cooked at a low temperature to avoid any initial darkening and then is aged in non-charred barrels to avoid any further darkening. The difference is a matter of aesthetics and taste. You might use white pear vinegar in a potato salad to maintain the white color. It is a little less sweet and has a clean aftertaste.

    Memphis Stew: How long does olive oil keep?
    Braslow: Our extra virgin, ultra-premium olive oils have a shelf life of two years from crush. The freshness of the oil is affected by heat, light, and exposure to air. We suggest storing olive oil away from heat in a colored glass bottle. Purchase a size bottle that you will use in six months to avoid prolonged exposure to air.

    Memphis Stew: What is your favorite olive oil and balsamic vinegar pairing? What about Carol?
    Braslow: My favorite pairing today is blood orange olive oil paired with dark chocolate balsamic. It is great drizzled on cheese or tossed with strawberries. Carol’s is cilantro and roasted onion olive oil paired with cranberry pear balsamic on salmon.

    Memphis Stew: Tell me about the little tree growing in your store window.
    Braslow: The tree was given to us by a close friend. It is a young Arbequina olive tree. We hope it will thrive and give us olives next year.

    Memphis Stew: And finally, is there anything else you’d like to share about the products in your store?
    Braslow: Our olive oils are kosher, gluten free, and delicious. Our balsamic vinegars are a traditional condiment, caramel color free, and aged up to 18 years.

    The Mighty Olive, 4615 Poplar, Suite 18 (901-240-6226)

    Article source memphismagazine

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    Sam and Carol Braslow recently opened The Mighty Olive in the Laurelwood Collection in East Memphis. When Sam Braslow’s family sold A. Schwab on Beale Street two years ago, he thought he was finished with retail. Then he and his wife Carol visited an olive oil and vinegar store... 
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  • Australian Olive Association ad campaign on substandard imports

    The world’s biggest fast food restaurant has reinvented itself since serving just burgers and shakes, and now has a website where customers want the truth.

    LOCAL olive oil makers will launch a $300,000 national ad campaign tonight after failing in a two-year bid to have what they say are substandard imports comply with Australian standards.

    Australian Olive Association CEO Lisa Armstrong said the campaign was “a last-ditch effort” as various authorities had failed to enforce the same standards on imports as applied to local olive oils.

    “We had been hoping the regulators would step in and not leave a lot of this decision-making to consumers but they don’t seem to want to do that,” she said. “We need to now educate consumers ourselves.”

    OLIVE OIL “CON” HITS SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    SUPERMARKETS’ EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL FAILS INVESTIGATION

    But Paul Berryman from the Australian Olive Oil Association, which represents olive oil importers, hit back saying there is room for everyone, local and imported, refined and pure olive oils and the focus should be on using olive oil fit for purpose.

    “What everyone should be doing is promoting the use of good olive oil and that is what we are trying to do but they (the AOA) seem very much intent on denigrating imported oil,” he said.

    “We consumer in Australia 55,000 tonnes of olive oil and Australia produces (about) 15,000 tonnes of olive oil, so they can’t even meet supply, so why they are carrying on as they do I don’t understand.”

    Ms Armstrong said the campaign was “not import bashing”.

    “We are happy to call our product what it is and we don’t mind competing head to head with imported product as long as it is labelled correctly and the claims it makes are true,” she said.

    AOA testing over two years found that, of 106 imported oils representing 40 different brands, 77 per cent failed the Australian Standard.

    The EU admitted last month that olive oil is the No. 1 product most at risk of food fraud, including the substitution of Greek olive oil for Italian oil to the addition of refined or cheaper oils such as corn, hazelnut and palm oil.

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    New campaign … Dr Joanna McMillan is fronting Australian Olive Association’s advertising bid to promote local produce

    Refined oils are often labelled as “Pure”, “Light” and “Extra Light” and make up about 45 per cent of Australia’s total olive oil consumption, which is almost two litres per person per year.

    “In Europe they don’t make claims like pure and light and extra light because they are meaningless and they are not terms that are used. But in Australia they are allowed to happen,” said Ms Armstrong.

    “These people are able to label a refined, bleached, deodorised product with terminology that intentionally confuses a consumer.”

    Australians have doubled their consumption of locally produced extra virgin olive oil to 31 per cent of total consumption in the past 18 months and grocery sales of local olive oil are expected to exceed $100m by 2014.

    The three-week national ad campaign, starting tonight on television and followed up in print, will be fronted by nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan.

    “People assume that be buying a European oil you are going to be getting a better oil,” said Dr McMillan. “In fact that is not true at all. Europe do produce some great oils but they are keeping it for themselves and the stuff that they send over to Australia is the real substandard stuff unless you spend a lot of money in your local posh shop.”

    Local chefs backing the campaign include Stephanie Alexander.

    “I would like to convince as many consumers as possible that Australia extra virgin olive oil is the freshest product and that it doesn’t age,” she said.

    “You don’t need to keep a bottle of olive oil for three years in the back of the cupboard because that’s the worst possible thing you can do with it.”

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    The world’s biggest fast food restaurant has reinvented itself since serving just burgers and shakes, and now has a website where customers want the truth. LOCAL olive oil makers will launch a $300,000 national ad campaign tonight after failing in a two-year bid to have... 
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  • Britain and Germany stopped Palestine from joining the International Olive Council

    According to European diplomatic sources, the two countries claim that letting the Palestinians into the council may jeopardize the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The main condition of the US-brokered negotiations was the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a Palestinian promise not to join any UN organizations. Jean-Louis Barjol, Executive Director of the International Olive Council, connemts.

    Olive oil has always been a key component of Palestine’s economy. Some experts stress that the International Olive Council is a technical organization and by joining it the Palestinians would not break the promise they made. The External Action Service also seems to favor Palestine’s move.

    A German Foreign Ministry official said in a statement the final decision would be taken by the EU and not Germany alone, though the German stance on the issue is well known. Britain has so far withheld any comments.

    The European Union’s member states are represented on the olive council by a single joint delegation. In case they fail to reach a universal agreement, the EU delegation will abstain from voting. The prospect of a diplomatic failure prompted Palestine to postpone the application prepared by the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry this summer. Voting was scheduled for this week in Madrid.

    How can you explain the latest Palestinian decision to freeze the application to the Olive Council?

    In the International Olive Council in Madrid we had this week the annual session of the members, on the agenda there was request from Palestine to become a new member of IOC. When we opened the session the Ambassador of Palestine in Madrid attended the meeting and requested the Assembly to postpone the analysis of the request until the next session. So this is what will be done and the point was postponed from the agenda.

    When is the next session and why do you think that they have made this decision?

    The next ordinary session of the International Olive Council is once a year, so it will be next November 2014. The reason why it was postponed was not explained in the presentation. So we assumed that there were debates among the Palestinian authorities maybe with other IOC members but we don’t have any details regarding this point. What has to be cleared is that the International Olive Council is a technical body; we are not doing politics, we are only dealing with norms, with promotion, with technical assistance.

    What were the chances that if Palestine had decided to apply for membership, what are the chances they would have received that membership this time around?

    I have no element to answer your question, because I’m the Executive Director, I’m not the speculator on the intention of any member of the IOC, I’m sorry.

    Olives are crucial for the Palestinian economy. It seems that Britain and Germany are opposed to Palestine’s membership. Why do you think they are opposed?

    Germany and the UK are not direct members of the IOC. They are members of the EU. We do not have contact with the German authorities or the UK authorities. We only have contact with EU. EU was present at the table, and they took note of the request, of the Palestinian Ambassador in Madrid to postpone the decision.

    What is your forecast? Will we see the EU countries coming to the universal agreement and alien Palestine into the IOC? When will that possibly happen in your opinion?

    This is an internal issue for the EU, as the Executive Director of the international body where my only member is the EU, not the individual members of the EU, I have no element to answer your question because this question should be addressed to the EU. What I should insist on because I think this it the point you are not clearly aware of is the fact that Palestine is in a situation of observer in the IOC, it has always been accepted by all the IOC members to be an observer. It’s no their first time, it observed in the previous session. We used to have Palestinian observers attending our sessions.

    I see. So basically what can you say about Palestine if they were to get membership, what would they actually do for Palestine? What advantages would that give them?

    That would be for them mainly regarding technical assistance. Because with them we could not only give them list of experts what we are already doing nowadays on the basis of them being observers but we could build up together common activities, to give them grants to organize seminars, workshop on this kind of issues. We could also give them a scholarship to train people in terms of chemical analysis, electric analysis because Palestine is an important olive oil country. They are producing important volumes of olive oil. And the help OIC can provide them and this is what they are looking for it is on how always improving their quality from the tree up to the bottle.

    Source voiceofrussia

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    According to European diplomatic sources, the two countries claim that letting the Palestinians into the council may jeopardize the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The main condition of the US-brokered negotiations was the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange... 
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  • Annual olive oil festival in Jordan

    People browse through products during the annual olive festival, where farmers from around the country showcase and sell their olive-related products, in Amman November 28, 2013. The festival runs till December 1.

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    Celebrating olive festival in Amman a woman uses a mix of olive oil and thyme as she makes a wrap for customers during the olive festival.

    Reuters/Muhammad Hamed/JORDAN

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    People browse through products during the annual olive festival, where farmers from around the country showcase and sell their olive-related products, in Amman November 28, 2013. The festival runs till December 1.Celebrating olive festival in Amman a woman uses a mix of olive... 
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  • Innovation in the olive market by FOS with "I love olive" Dried Original Kalamata sliced olives

    FOS brand, inspired by authentic Greek cuisine, presents a product that revolutionizes the olive industry.

    FOS – “I love olives” are Original Greek Kalamata olives, cured in sea salt brine, and processed in a delicate way that fully preserve their taste and nutritional value. Unlike other olives they have been sliced and dried and literally transformed into tasty crispy wheels.

    The amazing thing is that this 100% natural product is not only extremely tasty but it constitutes a major source of good fats (unsaturated). The consumption of 2 snack packs provides you with the daily intake of all the good fat you need to contribute to the maintenance of your normal cholesterol levels in the context of a balanced diet and healthy life-style.

    These benefits are accessible to everyone

    – 100% Natural
    – reduced salt by 80% compared to other olive products
    – good source of Vitamin E
    – rich in good fat (mono & polyunsaturated)
    – contains no cholesterol and trans fat
    – rich in dietary fiber
    – gluten free
    – convenient and easy to use
    – “I love olives” snack stands out of the crowd

    because it contains no sugars, while dried fruit contains considerable amounts of them is rich in good fat while snacks as potato chips are packed with bad –saturated fat is allergen free, unlike nuts and peanuts.

    All the above make us the ideal snack for everyone and for every hour of the day; in the office, at school on a trek or in a bar with your drink.

    For more information visit company website www.expoaid.gr

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    FOS brand, inspired by authentic Greek cuisine, presents a product that revolutionizes the olive industry. FOS – “I love olives” are Original Greek Kalamata olives, cured in sea salt brine, and processed in a delicate way that fully preserve their taste and nutritional... 
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  • IOC Council of Members to hold 101st session

    The International Olive Council will be holding its 101st regular session at its Madrid headquarters at calle Príncipe de Vergara 154 between 25 and 29 November. Representatives from its 18 Members (Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Croatia, Egypt, European Union, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay) will carry on discussing the future of the IOC besides taking part in the meetings of the specialist committees. For the first time, a representative of the United States will be attending an IOC session as an observer.

    The Working Group on the Future of the IOC will be meeting on 25 and 26 November to continue the debate on the future of the Organisation ahead of the renewal of the current 2005 International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives.

    On the morning of Wednesday 27 November, the Executive Secretariat will report to the Economic Committee on the production, consumption and trade statistics for olive oil and table olives entered in the balances for three crop years: 2011/12 (final), 2012/13 (provisional) and 2013/14 (estimated). Committee members will also analyse producer prices and how currency aspects affect international trade in olive oil and the final balance for the 2011/12 crop year will be adopted. The Executive Secretariat will also present the conclusions of the meetings held by the working groups on IOC statistics and the Harmonised System.

    The Promotion Committee will meet on the same day to review the action carried out since the last extraordinary session of the IOC, when the Members approved the budget for 2013, and the activities scheduled for 2014. In particular, it will be informed about the four awards carried off by the IOC promotion campaign in the United States, the launch of the promotion campaign in Brazil, the Grants Seminar and IOC participation in the ANUGA trade show. Committee members will be invited to approve a financial proposal for the award of grant funding in 2014 for generic promotional activities to boost consumption in the member countries. They will also discuss the list of trade shows for potential IOC participation in 2014 on the basis of a proposal framed by the IOC Advisory Committee on Olive Oil and Table Olives.

    The Technical Committee will be next to meet on the morning of Thursday 28 November. The Executive Secretariat will report on the progress in activities since the last session in the areas of olive oil chemistry and standardisation, research, development and environmental affairs, training and technical assistance, and will present the programme drawn up by the Technical Unit for 2014. The topics for consideration will include the Mario Solinas Quality Award, the outcomes of work on new testing methods and of the olive oil authentification seminar organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and the Joint Research Centre, the conclusions of the working group on quality strategy, the harmonisation of the Codex and IOC table olive standards and the IOC laboratory and panel recognition scheme. The Executive Secretariat will also outline the results of several ongoing projects (irrigation management (IRRIGAOLIVO), genetic resources (RESGEN), pilot demonstration olive nurseries, world olive germplasm collections, carbon footprint). It will report on the numerous courses and similar initiatives organised by the IOC (PhDs, intensive specialisation courses, olive oil marketing course co-organised with the IAMZ and grants seminar) besides framing a proposal to the Council for the potential continuation of these activities in 2014.

    The afternoon of the same day will be set aside for the meeting of the Financial Committee to discuss customary financial business such as the IOC budget, the contributions of the member countries, proposed amendments to administrative procedures and other items.

    Later in the evening, the IOC will host a reception at 8 p.m. for delegations, the press and the diplomatic corps to celebrate World Olive Day. The venue will be the IOC headquarters.
    The plenary session will be held on 29 November. An official welcome will be extended to Uruguay, the IOC’s latest new Member, after which the Executive Director will present his activity report and the chairs of each IOC committee, including the IOC Advisory Committee, will report on the outcome of their deliberations.
    Source internationaloliveoil

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    The International Olive Council will be holding its 101st regular session at its Madrid headquarters at calle Príncipe de Vergara 154 between 25 and 29 November. Representatives from its 18 Members (Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Croatia, Egypt, European Union, Iran, Iraq, Israel,... 
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  • Deep-fried in olive oil and good for you

    Fried food is probably not on anyone’s lists of healthy eats, but you have to start with this: Fat is good for you.

    The long-lived people of Crete might not drink a glass of olive oil a day, but they consume three times as much as we do, and that’s probably more desirable than our misguided notion that the less fat you eat, the better.

    There are differences among fats, of course, but with trans-fats in full retreat and lard and butter making comebacks, the whole fat-eating thing is starting to make some sense. Of course, the key word is moderation. You can eat fat as long as it’s high quality and you don’t eat it to the exclusion of plants.

    That’s one reason you shouldn’t reject deep-frying at home. The second reason is that you know you love it. (I do, and probably average a session twice a month.) The third is that it can be fast and easy. The fourth is that you can deep-fry plants. And anything else.

    Frying is thought of as messy, but this can be mitigated by the simplest of measures: using a pot that is heavy, broad and deep, like a well-made stockpot. Choose this, add a fair amount of oil, and the process is simplified and neat.

    Which oil? How much? Since most deep-frying is done at around 350 degrees, this notion that olive oil is inappropriate for frying is nonsense; it smokes at 375 (and smoking isn’t the end of the story, either). So olive oil – especially “pure,” which is a step below extra virgin and in theory less expensive – is a fine option, especially for something in which you’d like its flavor, which could include any of the recipes here.

    Unless, that is, you’re seasoning tempura with soy sauce, in which case you might choose peanut oil, which is as flavorful as olive oil, but obviously different. The third excellent option is grapeseed oil, which is as close to neutral as you can find.

    None of these is as inexpensive as vegetable oil, or soy, or corn or Wesson. And if you don’t have problems with chemical extraction, you might choose one of them; they are, after all, what is used for nearly all commercial deep-frying. If, however, you can afford it and you want the best possible frying experience, use one of those three mentioned above, or at least a cold-pressed neutral oil like safflower or sunflower.

    Money is an issue, since on the face of it, frying isn’t cheap. When it comes to the “how much” question, I’d say two quarts. That’s not a fixed number, and 48 ounces (1 1/2 quarts, or 6 cups) is probably enough in most cases. Sometimes you can get away with a quart or even less.

    But more is generally better, and you can reuse the oil quite a few times for deep-frying, stir-frying or sautéing, as long as you strain out most solids – and you need not be fanatic about this; a quick run through a strainer is fine – and keep it in the refrigerator. (You might consider keeping oil you’re not using in the near future in the refrigerator anyway; rancidity comes from heat and light, and it’s nasty. If you have an old bottle of oil sitting around in your kitchen, smell it; you’ll probably throw it away.)

    The goal of frying is to crisp the outside perfectly and cook the inside just enough, while keeping the whole package from absorbing more than a bit of oil. Most of this happens magically, as long as you follow the rules, which I’ll get to in a second. There are three or four levels of protection you can give the interior, and all of them become satisfying crusts – again, as long as everything goes right.

    The first layer of protection is the stuff itself: You allow the outside of the food you’re cooking to become the crisp part. (That’s like a french fry, or falafel or “naked” fried chicken.) Then there’s the second layer: a light dusting of cornmeal, flour or the like. (I like this with fried squid or fried chicken, especially when seasoned heavily with black pepper.) Then a fluffy coating, like tempura or a doughy, pancake-like batter (the latter, it seems to me, is often – perhaps usually – overkill). And finally, the old flour, egg and bread crumb treatment, which is, well, yum.

    They’re all pretty much appropriate for anything. You choose the food you want to fry, you choose the coating, you follow these general instructions and it’ll work.

    Start by putting at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy and, as I said, deep pot. Less than 2 inches and you may not be deep-frying; it’ll work, but you might have to turn the food more often, it might stick to the bottom a bit and it might cook less evenly.

    Turn the heat to medium or medium-high and go about your business. Part of that business might be finding a thermometer, because you want that oil to be between 350 and 365 degrees in almost every instance. The heavy pot will help keep that temperature stable.
    You don’t have to have a thermometer, though, because there are a couple of other ways to know when the oil is ready. It’s just about right when a pinch of flour sizzles without burning immediately; that’s not super-accurate, but if you then add a single piece of food and it first sinks a bit and then immediately rises to the top, the oil is perfect. If it sits on the bottom like a flounder, the oil isn’t hot enough; if it doesn’t sink at all, the oil is too hot. The oil is also too hot if it’s smoking.

    Add your food in batches and don’t crowd; you do not want the temperature to plummet, nor do you want the pieces of food nestling against one another. (Although it’s fine if they bump.) You may or may not have to turn the pieces, but that’s easy, because they’ll be floating and they won’t stick. Remove them with a slotted spoon, tongs or spider; you’ll know when they’re done, because the color will be evenly gorgeous.

    Take it slow and either eat the food as it comes out of the fat (you can drain on paper towels or, if you want to be fancy, a cloth napkin) or keep it warm for as little time as possible in a low oven. Myself, I like to fry when people are standing around eating the food as fast as I can produce it; that is really fun. And good for you.

    Source cooks

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    Fried food is probably not on anyone’s lists of healthy eats, but you have to start with this: Fat is good for you. The long-lived people of Crete might not drink a glass of olive oil a day, but they consume three times as much as we do, and that’s probably more desirable... 
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  • Photo story: turning waste into money, while protecting nature

    The EU Neighbourhood Info Centre has released a photo story –“Turning waste into money “ highlighting the achievements of a cross-border cooperation project in Jordan.

    The 1.32-minute video talks about the challenge of minimising the environmental impact of olive oil mill wastewater in the Mediterranean region – the biggest world’s olive oil producer.

    The Mediterranean accounts for 97% of olive oil production, that is a well known fact! What is less well-known is that for the estimated two million tons of olive oil produced annually, some nine million tons of waste is generated. Given the potential environmental harm that this can cause, scientists across the region are putting their minds together to discover the perfect method of minimising the environmental impact of olive oil mill wastewater, generating bio-products for commercial use in the process.

    To find an answer, the MEDOLICO Project – funded by the EU through its Mediterranean Cross Border Cooperation programme – convinced the Jordan University of Science and Technology to act as a testing ground.

    The photo story is based on a feature article published by the Info Centre.

    It was put together using photos taken for the Info Centre, illustrating the activities of the project, with music and background information. The photos are also available in a special Photo gallery on the EU Neighbourhood Info Centre website.

    Source enpi-info

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    The EU Neighbourhood Info Centre has released a photo story –“Turning waste into money “ highlighting the achievements of a cross-border cooperation project in Jordan. The 1.32-minute video talks about the challenge of minimising the environmental impact of olive oil mill... 
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  • Deoleo, the world’s biggest olive oil bottler, has spoken about its “radical transformation”

    After several years of self-admitted semi-silence, Deoleo, the world’s biggest olive oil bottler, has spoken about its “radical transformation” and imminent launch of products marking a new paradigm of innovation.

    A stronger pitch for the health segment is promised and could see the new items in the Carbonell portfolio – going on sale in January – feature an olive oil mixed with an omega 3 oil and a special oil blend for children.

    The Madrid-based giant has undergone major changes including a big downsizing of staff and factories, a move to just-in-time inventories – not without trauma for producers – and a brutal price battle with the thriving store brands.

    The new Deoleo: not an olive oil company, a consumer goods one

    The leaner, more efficient and less debt-saddled Deoleo is moving from an era of restructuring to one of innovation, chief executive Jaime Carbó said at the presentation of the company’s third quarter results and overview of its strategic plan at the Madrid stock exchange on November 8.
    Read more at OliveOilTimes

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    After several years of self-admitted semi-silence, Deoleo, the world’s biggest olive oil bottler, has spoken about its “radical transformation” and imminent launch of products marking a new paradigm of innovation. A stronger pitch for the health segment is promised and... 
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  • A new European Union program “Horizon 2020” currently on its way

    Extra virgin olive oil producers and other related SMEs have help implementing a wide set of activities and products thanks to a new European Union program “Horizon 2020” currently on its way through various legislative approvals reports OliveOilTimes.

    The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

    Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. Running from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of just over €70 billion1, the EU’s new programme for research and innovation is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.

    Horizon 2020 provides major simplification through a single set of rules. It will combine all research and innovation funding currently provided through the Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, the innovation related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

    The proposed support for research and innovation under Horizon 2020 will:
    Strengthen the EU’s position in science with a dedicated budget of € 24 341 million1. This will provide a boost to top-level research in Europe, including the very successful European Research Council (ERC).
    Strengthen industrial leadership in innovation € 17 015 million1. This includes major investment in key technologies, greater access to capital and support for SMEs.
    Provide € 30 956 million1 to help address major concerns shared by all Europeans such as climate change, developing sustainable transport and mobility, making renewable energy more affordable, ensuring food safety and security, or coping with the challenge of an ageing population.
    Horizon 2020 will tackle societal challenges by helping to bridge the gap between research and the market by, for example, helping innovative enterprise to develop their technological breakthroughs into viable products with real commercial potential. This market-driven approach will include creating partnerships with the private sector and Member States to bring together the resources needed.

    International cooperation will be an important cross-cutting priority of Horizon 2020. In addition to Horizon 2020 being fully open to international participation, targeted actions with key partner countries and regions will focus on the EU’s strategic priorities. Through a new strategy, a strategic and coherent approach to international cooperation will be ensured across Horizon 2020.

    Horizon 2020 will be complemented by further measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area by 2014. These measures will aim at breaking down barriers to create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.

    Sources: EC Europa, eurostars eureca

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    Extra virgin olive oil producers and other related SMEs have help implementing a wide set of activities and products thanks to a new European Union program “Horizon 2020” currently on its way through various legislative approvals reports OliveOilTimes. The EU Framework Programme... 
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  • India Olive Oil market - 17 million ton cooking-oil market — but demand is growing

    Since the mid-2000s, India has imported vast quantities of olive oil to satisfy the aspirations of a minuscule segment of India’s urban population.

    India is already an edible oil deficit nation requiring importing 48 per cent of its domestic needs. The recent downslide in the value of the rupee hurt India’s food security in manifold ways because we failed to take advantage of the fall in the global prices of most varieties of edible oils. But the olive oil import lobby of India manipulated the situation in such a way that larger quantities of this luxury product flowed into India.

    That’s because this little-known, unorganised sector, enjoying absolutely nil production in India, is experiencing annual demand growth between 25 per cent—2300 tonnes in 2007 to 4500 tonnes in 2008—and somewhere close to 66 per cent when the total touched 42,000 tonnes in 2012. Looking at the entire import basket of India, it’s difficult to find another item that has seen growth on a scale anything remotely spectacular.

    “India imported more then 12 000 tones in the year ending March 2013 as compared to 7,163.08 tones in 2012, producing a never-before-seen increase of 66.36 per cent,” Indian Olive Association said in a statement.

    “The 66 per cent import growth rate comes despite a price increase of more than 40 per cent in the last year in producer countries. Prices remain on historical highs even today despite the expectation of a reasonable crop this year,” the association said.

    An additional adverse factor is the steep depreciation of the rupee in recent weeks. “January 2013 saw an average rate of euro at Rs 71.60 whereas June 2013 saw an average rate of Rs 76, an increase of 6.15 per cent,” it said.

    The variety of olive oil that is available in India is priced anywhere from Rs 400 to Rs 800 a litre. It is paradoxical that the International Olive Council, a UNDP body, along with the Indian Olive Association could make claims on the benefits of consuming olive oil to fight major health issues related to heart diseases and diabetes in contradiction to the IOC’s own data on India which shows that almost all the oils imported into India are of the refined variety—dominated by Pomace olive oil.

    The association said that most Indian companies have been compelled to raise olive oil prices between 20-40 per cent in 2013 either by increasing MRP or by reducing market offers and schemes.

    Spain and Italy continued to dominate Indian imports in fiscal year 2013 with Spain accounting for 59.18 per cent and Italy 31.26 per cent in total imports. Imports from Spain rose to 7,052.17 tonnes against 3,407.16 tonnes last year, while imports from Italy increased to 3,724.88 tonnes from 2,564.90 tonnes last year.

    Getting Indians to switch to olive oil will be no easy feat. It currently makes up a nanoscopic 12,000 tons of India’s 17 million ton cooking-oil market — but demand is growing.

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    Since the mid-2000s, India has imported vast quantities of olive oil to satisfy the aspirations of a minuscule segment of India’s urban population. India is already an edible oil deficit nation requiring importing 48 per cent of its domestic needs. The recent downslide in the... 
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  • The Olive Oil Source Introduces New Website Focused on Party Favors

    The Olive Oil Source Party Favors website is the latest creation from the top-ranked olive oil-related website in the world. The Party Favors site is newly designed to give special attention and service to individuals and businesses interested in personalized gifts and favors for any occasion – from weddings and family celebrations to corporate events, retail store openings and gift basket promotions.

    The dedicated focus of the Party Favor business also extends to special event and wedding consultants interested in offering their clients unique and high-quality party favors. The company is offering significant commissions on sales and sales referrals to event coordinators, wedding planners, corporate gift buyers, retail stores and individuals that service the party favors, gift basket and promotional giveaways markets. Sample kits and advertising materials will be made available to participating partners.

    Source prweb

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    The Olive Oil Source Party Favors website is the latest creation from the top-ranked olive oil-related website in the world. The Party Favors site is newly designed to give special attention and service to individuals and businesses interested in personalized gifts and favors... 
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  • Economic analysis of the EU Olive Oil sector

    The European Union is the leading producer and consumer of olive oil, producing 73 % and consuming 66 % of the world’s olive oil.

    1. Situation in the sector

    1.1. Production characteristics
    Olive growing has several key specificities:
    – It is an perennial Mediterranean crop, meaning that there is rigidity in farm adaptation to economic trends. A plantation takes between five to seven years to become fully productive;
    – Production varies greatly and depends on the biological alternation of the olive tree (a good harvest followed by a poor one), farming methods (use of irrigation), olive varieties and the soil and climate conditions;
    – There are few alternatives to olive trees in marginal regions with poor productivity (mountainous or hilly areas); they can grow in poor, stony soil which it would be difficult to put to other crop uses. Consequently they play an important environmental role (fixing soils, biodiversity, landscape);
    – The peak in activity occurs in winter, which makes it compatible with other agricultural and non-agricultural activities. With traditional growing methods, labour represents over half of production costs; and therefore olive growing plays an important role in society;
    – The structure of production is typically very fragmented (small holdings);
    – Olive growing is a major feature of the heritage and socio-cultural life of
    Mediterranean regions.
    In the EU, olive trees are grown in Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, France, Cyprus, Slovenia and Malta.

    1.2. Production systems
    Broadly speaking, there are two main methods of olive growing: traditional processes, generally in mountainous or hilly areas which are not irrigated, and modern processes which involve irrigation and mechanisation. However, there are a number of production systems, such as dry, irrigated, mechanised, non- mechanised, intensive and highly intensive.
    Production costs in modern olive groves are lower than in traditional ones. Moreover, the mechanisation and scheduling of operations allows producers to minimise the time between harvesting and pressing of the olives, which has a positive impact on the quality.

    1.3. Structure of farms
    Eurostat reports that in 2007 there were 1.9 million farms with olive groves in the EU. The olive sector is characterised by a large number of small operations. Olive oil production in Spain (413 000 holdings with an average size of 5.3 ha) seems to be relatively less fragmented than in Greece (531 000 holdings with an average size of 1.6 ha) or in Italy, which has the highest number of holdings (776 000, with an average size of 1.3 ha).

    The largest holdings are in Andalusia (8 ha/holding on average) and Alentejo (7.2 ha/holding), while the smallest are located in Cyprus (0.5 ha/holding), Apulia and Crete (1.7 ha/holding).
    Around half the olive oil operations in the EU producer countries specialise in olive oil production. However, there are major disparities among EU regions: in Andalusia and Apulia, between 65% and 80% of farms are specialised. In contrast, in Portugal, Cyprus and Slovenia, the majority of holdings do not specialise in olive growing.

    In small farms, olive oil production may be a secondary, traditional and family activity: oil is produced for personal consumption and only a small amount may be marketed for direct sale.

    1.4. Area, yields, production
    Olive growing produces two main products, namely table olives and olive oil. This report focuses on olive oil.

    Area
    The available data for 2010 indicate that olive groves account for close to 5 million hectares in the EU. They are concentrated in Spain (50%), Italy (26%) and Greece (22%).

    The olive is primarily grown in southern areas: Andalusia, Calabria, Apulia, Crete and Peloponnese. In Spain, over 80% of production is based in Andalusia. There is a predominance of non-irrigated olive groves in this region, although an increasing area is irrigated.
    The proportion of groves located in disadvantaged zones (mountainous areas and areas with specific disadvantages) is significant: representing 88% of total area in Portugal, 71% in Greece, 60% in Spain and 51% in Italy.

    Yield
    National statistical data show that yields vary significantly depending on the year, operating system, planting density, growing practices, climate conditions and the biological alternation of the olive tree: in 2009 and 2010, average national yield was 2.67 t/ha of olives in Spain and 2.92 t/ha in Italy. To calculate oil production, the olives’ oil yield must be taken into account – this is approximately 20% depending on a number of factors. In 2010 oil yield in Spain was 0.56 t/ha and in Italy 0.44t/ha.

    Production
    Average olive oil production in the EU in recent years has been 2.2 million tonnes, representing around 73% of world production. Spain, Italy and Greece account for about 97% of EU olive oil production, with Spain producing approximately 62% of this amount.
    In terms of oil quality, in 2009 Spain produced 35% extra virgin oil, 32% virgin oil and 33% lampante oil. The respective figures for Italy in relation to these three categories of oil are 59%, 18% and 24%. These percentages change year on year, notably because of climate conditions.

    1.5. Consumption
    The EU is the world’s biggest consumer (66% share).
    Spain, Italy and Greece account for around 80% of EU consumption, i.e. 1 900 000 t. Consumption seems to be stable in the producer countries, whereas it is increasing in France and in the non-producer Member States.
    Consumption models differ in the EU’s three main producer countries. In Italy and Greece, the majority of oil consumed is extra virgin, whereas in Spain this category represents less than half of consumption. The general trend is towards the consumption of extra virgin oils.

    1.6. Trade
    Two thirds of EU production is traded internationally (within and outside the EU).
    Trade within the EU is considerable and continues to rise steadily. In 2010/11 it was around 1 000 000 t, i.e. 45% of EU production. Spain is the biggest supplier with 655 000 t, while Italy is the biggest buyer with 533 000 t.

    EU exports represent approximately 66% of world exports. In 2010/11, exports to third countries amounted to 447 000 t, of which Spain sold 225 000 t and Italy 160 000 t. The biggest markets are the USA, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Russia and China.

    In 2010/11, imports accounted for 115 000 t, of which the majority is traditionally under inward processing rules and the remainder within the framework of tariff- free quotas with the Mediterranean countries, primarily Tunisia. The new agreement with Morocco has fully liberalised imports from this country.

    1.7. Stocks
    EU stocks represent approximately 70% of world stocks.
    At the start of the marketing year (1 October 2011), stocks from the three main producer countries were approximately 630 000 t, of which 75% belonged to Spain. This level of stock represents a little more than three months of EU needs (domestic consumption + exports).

    1.8. Organisation of the olive industry
    The degree of organisation differs greatly from one Member State to another. According to an ongoing study on cooperatives in the European Union*, the level of organisation is 70% in Spain, 60% in Greece, 30% in Portugal and only 5% in Italy. Nonetheless, in general these producer organisations are too small to have any weight in the face of industry concentration and the retail chains.

    In Spain, a few big groups control the majority of the olive oil market. Upstream there are 1 740 processing businesses (mills), including some 950 cooperatives, that produce olive oil, although the majority do not bottle or market oils.

    In Italy, there are some 5 000 mills, whereas downstream the industry is very concentrated with the major bottlers controlling almost half the virgin olive oil market (80% of domestic consumption). Some Italian commercial brands have been bought by Spanish groups over the past decade. In Italy and Greece, the producer customarily retains ownership of the oil after its extraction in the mill, placing some production on the market via short distribution channels.

    In Greece there are approximately 2 200 mills. The majority of the oil put on the market is owned by a few large companies.
    In view of this, producers and primary processors lack the means to adapt supply to demand and consequently to properly benefit from the full value of their production.

    1.9. Qualitative aspects, PDO/PGI, integrated production
    Olive oil has a positive image and the product’s nutritional and health qualities are some of the sector’s strengths. It is in the interests of the different categories of olive oil to highlight the value of their specific attributes, notably through the EU certification systems: geographical indications or organic farming.
    The marketing strategy and profitability for protected designations of origin/protected geographical indication (PDO/PGI) vary across the board: some PDOs opt for strategies that allow for high market prices and volumes, whereas others place only a small volume of PDO oil on the market at prices comparable to standard oils. On average from 2006 to 2008, the production value of the olive oil marketed using a protected designation of origin or protected geographical indication was EUR 215 million per year**.
    Organic production receives funding from the second pillar (between EUR 270 and EUR 700 per hectare depending on the Member State). Its development is dependent on the opening of specific production lines in the mills and the development of short distribution channels (bottling and marketing by producers).

    * Support for farmer’s cooperatives in the EU. LEI Institut, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.
    ** According to a 2009 DG AGRI study on the value of PDO and PGI agricultural production.

    The development of integrated production is linked to measures put into place within the framework of rural development and/or Article 68 of the Regulation on direct payments. The latter was used in Portugal and Greece at the time of the 2006 reform. Funding to Portugal has the twin objective of quality and marketing, and aid is per tonne. Consequently it gives greater assistance to very productive systems in comparison to less productive PDOs. The funds to Greece are intended to support quality productions through funds per hectare to encourage organic, PDO/PGI and integrated farming. However, the measure seems to be mainly resulting in the development of the cheaper integrated production, which is less attractive in quality terms.
    In 2011 in Spain around 57 000 ha were in integrated production as part of a programme to improve the quality of olive oil and table olive production (Rural Development Regulation).

    1.10. Price
    Producer prices vary according to supply and demand. As a result, prices are higher in deficit markets (Italy) than in surplus markets (Spain and Greece). Prices differ for various reasons, and particularly reflect the quality of olive oil. The market sets a price for each category of virgin olive oil (extra virgin, virgin and lampante). The biggest price differences in the oil categories are on the Italian and Greek markets. In Spain the prices of the different oil categories are fairly similar.

    2. Analysis of supply/demand based on a medium-term view of oil production in the EU
    Spain

    During the marketing year 2011/12 the production of olive oil in Spain is expected to reach 1.6 million tonnes, of which irrigated olive plantations would provide around 52%. The contribution of irrigated olive plantations to the total production of olives has gradually increased over the last years, from 33% in 2004 to 52% in 2011.
    The projection for 2020 shows that production could reach 1.433 million tonnes of olive oil in a low-yield season, 1.677 million tonnes of olive oil for an average- yield season and 1.86 million tonnes for a high-yield season. The irrigated land area could increase by 90 000 hectares (from 681 000 hectares in 2011 to 771 000 hectares by 2020), whereas non-irrigated land could decrease by around 20 000 hectares (from 1.78 million hectares in 2011 to 1.76 million hectares by 2020).

    20131124-161907.jpg
    The yields could slightly improve for both irrigated and non-irrigated olive groves and for the three scenarios (high-yield, medium-yield and low-yield).

    20131124-162410.jpg
    Total exports from Spain doubled over the period 1999-2010 (from 367 000 tonnes to 824 000 tonnes). The projection for 2020 shows a further increase in the total exports by more than 180 000 tones.

    For the period 2012-20 (9 marketing years in total) and on the basis of historical data, it has been projected that there will be 3 high-yield marketing years, 3 average-yield and 3 low-yield. According to this assumption, the following is projected for the period 2012-20:
    total production of 14 million tonnes;
    consumption of olive oil approximately 5.6 million tonnes; imports of 396 000 tonnes;
    exports increasing continuously, with the total cumulative figure reaching 8.6 million tones.

    Based on the above assumption, this would lead to a total increment in the level of stocks of 246 000 tonnes or an average annual increment of 27 000 tonnes. According to current Spanish forecasts, the final stocks at the end of the current marketing year 2011/12 would reach 635 000 tonnes. Consequently, the final stocks by 2020 are expected to reach 881 000 tones.

    20131124-162032.jpg

    3. Analysis of the economic situation of olive farms
    DG AGRI analysed developments in farms specialising in olive oil production from 2000 to 2010. Structures, production costs, margins and income indicators were studied. The aim is to identify structural developments and to characterise farms in economic difficulty and those in better economic shape. The main source used in this study is the FADN database (Farm Accounting Data Network), supplemented by Eurostat data and information provided by national authorities. The study covers the three main Member State olive oil producers.

    The specialist farms in the FADN represent 53% of the EU’s total olive growing area and 73% of total olive oil production. There is a possibility that the major holdings in Spain are not fully represented because often they are not sufficiently specialised to be included in the sample studied. Farms are classified according to the type of product they produce: olives for oil production, olive oil or both. Spain has mainly olive producers, whereas Greece has mainly olive oil producers and Italy has both types of production.

    Labour is the most costly factor in olive growing: the family work force accounts for 43-57% of the total cost and paid labour for 10-17%. Other significant factors relate to specific costs (10-16%) and depreciation (6-17%).

    In Spain, olive farms are on average bigger and work productivity is higher. Farms produce olives which are sold to other operators (mills). From 2000 to 2010, olive farms in Spain have on average showed a downward trend in respect of margins and income indicators, with an approximate one-third drop in nominal terms (-38% in family income per work unit). In comparison to other agricultural holdings, olive farms have shown the worst income trend for the period 2000-09: -30% compared to an average of +9% for Spain. This is due to the lack of gains in work productivity, economies of scale and the downward trend in prices.

    In Italy, farmers produce olives for oil, olive oil on site and mixed production (olives and oil). The price of olives and oil are on average notably higher in this Member State. Costs are also higher. Nonetheless, developments in relation to olive producers and mixed producers are fairly similar when compared to those for Spanish olive producers.

    The income of Italian olive oil producers has shown the best trend of all the types of producers in the Member States studied. In the period 2000-09, a clear increase in margins was observed, whereas income indicators remained relatively stable. The main reasons for this are the significant rise in prices, with total costs per tonne characterised by relative stability.

    In Greece, the share of the family work force in costs is very high, indicating both a high number of very small family farms and the lack of marketing/professional guidance. In this Member State, olive oil farms are characterised by a significant increase in margins and income indicators over the 2000-05 period but by an inverse trend from 2005 to 2009. This development is the result of changes in price, work productivity and cost per tonne. In comparison to other types of holdings, income trends for olive oil farms are the worst for the period 2005 to 2009.

    In the three Member States, the general trend in olive oil farm income between 2000 and 2009 was worse than the national agricultural average, including the lowest figures. Nonetheless, the average situation and the changes observed can differ greatly at regional level: in the majority of regions, the drop in income has generally been drastic. In Extremadura and Sicily, on the other hand, the trend was positive over the period studied.

    20131124-162614.jpg
    Individual situations also contrast sharply. In the period from 2006 to 2009, 25% of olive farms in Spain earned less than EUR 5 000 of family income per family work unit, rising to 30% in Italy and 37% in Greece. Some 11% of Spanish olive oil farms earned over EUR 30 000 per family work unit, with 10% in Italy and 30% in Greece.

    All three Member States show that high incomes can be linked to the following factors: larger-scale olive groves, smaller share of family work in total or overall work and, above all, high work productivity expressed in quantities of olives or quantity of oil produced by farm and by work unit. Higher productivity is very probably linked to mechanisation and higher production intensity. In Italy, higher income is also linked to better yield while in Greece it is linked to higher yields and prices. Conversely, low income reflects small-scale farms, a high proportion of family work force, fewer direct payments and lower productivity. These farms may carry out other non-agricultural activities with the aim of augmenting their low agricultural income.

    For the period 2006-09, total direct payments and subsidies represented on average and as percentage of income (net value added per work unit):
    – 22% in Spain,
    – 48% in Greece,
    – 22%, 25% and 50% respectively for olive producers, oil producers and mixed producers (olives and olive oil) in Italy.
    In short, the economic situation of olive farms has significantly worsened over the years (since 2005 or 2007 depending on the Member State in question and the type of production).

    European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development
    Latest update: July 2012

    Source ec.europa.eu

     

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    The European Union is the leading producer and consumer of olive oil, producing 73 % and consuming 66 % of the world’s olive oil. 1. Situation in the sector 1.1. Production characteristics Olive growing has several key specificities: – It is an perennial Mediterranean... 
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  • The Olive Oil Market in Germany

    German consumers are demanding more information on the qualities, origin and pricing of olive oils, which is in turn improving transparency in the country’s olive oil market, according to Spain’s Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX).

    Above all, Germans still love butter and margarine, but when it comes to edible oils, the top three in terms of amount consumed are canola, sunflower and then olive oil, with respective market shares of about 37, 31 and 18 percent, the recent ICEX report, “The Olive Oil Market in Germany” says.

    However, among organic oils, olive oil is the leader, with the highest sales in terms of volume per household. ICEX says the growing demand for organic produce is one of most striking tendencies in the German food market.

    Nevertheless, overall olive oil imports by Germany slipped slightly last year in both volume and value. Compared to 2011, the volume imported – 67,432 tons – was down 0.51 percent, but since 2007 there’s been average annual growth of 1.65 percent

    Among other aspects of the German olive oil market highlighted by ICEX are that:

    – store brands (particularly those of discount chains Aldi and Lidl) account for nearly half of all olive oil sold and, in terms of volume, two thirds of olive oil sales are in discount stores

    – while half of all retail turnover in 2012 derived from products in the €3-3.49/L price segment, more than a fifth was from products in the €5-6/L range, and a new price segment of above €7/L, which a few years ago was almost non-existent, now accounts for 15 percent

    – the vast majority of olive oil imported is virgin grade (82.57 percent in volume) but imports in this category fell slightly in both volume and value in 2012 compared to 2011

    – Italy provides the vast majority of Germany’s olive oil – nearly 72 percent of imports – and Spain ranks next with just over 14 percent, then Greece with almost nine percent

    – in 2012, Greece overtook Spain in terms of the value of its virgin olive oil imports into Germany, but Spain remained ahead in volume

    – Germans consumed an average of 0.91L each of canola oil last year and spent €1.79 ($2.43) on it, compared to 0.42L and €2.10 ($2.85) for of olive oil

    – they prefer to buy their olive oil in glass rather than plastic bottles and in volumes of 500-750 ml

    – oil and fat consumption is declining in Germany – the per capita consumption of 20kg in 2011 was down nearly a quarter on that of six years earlier.

    Sources:
    ICEX report “The Olive Oil Market in Germany” (in Spanish), olive oil times

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    German consumers are demanding more information on the qualities, origin and pricing of olive oils, which is in turn improving transparency in the country’s olive oil market, according to Spain’s Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX). Above all, Germans still love butter and... 
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  • Jordanian olive oil industry review

    High production costs, consumer behaviour and weak purchasing power combine to prevent the Jordanian olive oil industry from growing.

    According to olive growers and olive oil producers, Jordanians promote the organic quality as the only export strength because they cannot count on a price advantage in international markets where the cost of Tunisian, Greek, Spanish and Italian olive oil, among others, is much lower.

    In an interview conducted by The Jordan Times, the chairman and board members of the Jordan Olive Products Exporters Association indicated that farmers and owners of olive mills are at a disadvantage price-wise especially when 1 kilogramme of olive oil in Europe sells for around JD3, while the local production costs not less than JD3.75 at best.

    The association members pointed out that since 1995, production costs have increased by 500 per cent, mainly due to higher electricity and water charges, as well as labour payments.

    Chairman Mohammad Samih Barakat, Vice Chairman Mohammad Al Jazi and board members Fayyad Al Zyoud and Ammar Kataneh spoke about efforts to increase olive oil exports by participating in various international exhibitions and improving the quality, but conceded that the price remains a key obstacle.

    They noted that the European Union gives Jordan a quota, but local farmers and mills are unable to benefit much from this incentive because of stiff competition from other countries.

    Even politics and patriotism play a role, as consumers in Arab Gulf states opt for Palestinian olive oil, in an expression of solidarity and camaraderie with the people under Israeli oppression, they said.

    In view of these constraints, the sector’s representatives said Jordan’s annual olive oil sales abroad are limited to between 1,000 and 1,500 tonnes, mainly sold to Japan, Arab Gulf states, and some European and Latin American countries.

    According to Barakat and Al Jazi, total olive oil output averages about 20,000 tonnes per year, a quantity that places the Kingdom in ninth place worldwide.

    But when it comes to local utilisation, the country trails far behind in international ranking, as Jordanians’ consumption stands at 3.5 kilogrammes per capita annually, compared to 24 kilogrammes in Mediterranean countries

    Barakat attributed the very low rate to the people’s weak purchasing power and stressed that the price is a determining factor which leaves no option for consumers but to look for a cheap, low-quality product.

    “Jordanians compromise quality for price,” he indicated.

    “Jordanians do not realise that by buying olive oil over the course of a whole year they can avoid immediate payment and stretch their spending,” he said, also expressing doubt that the public knows about the year-round availability of olive oil, especially in light of high standards of storage facilities and handling techniques.

    Al Jazi blamed consumer behaviour and the public’s lack of knowledge about the quality of olive oil for compounding the sector’s woes.

    “People here limit their purchases of olive oil to two months each year, on the assumption that October and November is the season for doing so. Accordingly, with a tight wallet, they rush unaware of technical issues that determine the quality and grade of oil,” Al Jazi said.

    He explained that timing at every stage is very important, whether in terms of harvesting olives, sending the crop to mills, processing the right quantity into oil, proper storing and treatment for acidity level.

    According to Barakat, Jordanians like pungency in the olive oil, but the acidity level should not be more than 3.3 per cent if it is to be considered of good quality.

    Al Jazi and Barakat lamented the rush that takes place towards the end of each year because the mess that occurs in October and November distorts most quality and pricing standards.

    The association members stressed that unless consumer behaviour changes and prices become more affordable, the Jordanian olive oil industry will continue to lag behind despite the fact that the sector has the potential to grow with the right approach.

    SourceThe Jordan Times

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    High production costs, consumer behaviour and weak purchasing power combine to prevent the Jordanian olive oil industry from growing. According to olive growers and olive oil producers, Jordanians promote the organic quality as the only export strength because they cannot count... 
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  • Mamma Mia USA extra virgin olive oil

    As Americans learn more about the many benefits of olive oil, demand for it is increasing. To meet that demand, many low-quality olive oils, which lack the benefits that make olive oil such a popular choice, are lining our grocery store shelves.

    But a local couple is on a mission to educate consumers about the olive oil market while selling their Sicilian family’s ultra premium extra virgin olive oil.

    Vitina and Stefano Feo of Gulf Shores work with their family in Sicily to produce and market olive oil under the Mamma Mia USA label. Based on extra virgin olive oil chemical analysis and sensory assessment, Mamma Mia USA’s olive oil is in the top three percent of all extra virgin olive oil produced worldwide — and you can find it in stores across Baldwin County.

    Made in Sicily

    It all started with Papa Vince, Vincenzo Biondo, whose picture is on the Mamma Mia USA label. Vince started in the olive oil business as an apprentice in the olive oil orchards on a noble family’s orchard.

    “Papa Vince did this all his life,” Vitina says. “He had an entrepreneurial mind. When he started, he was working for this noble family, and at the same time he was selling olives on the side. He was a good salesman — very funny and always happy.”

    When Papa Vince started making olive oil, it was a labor-intensive process.

    “It took three men plus an animal working three days to produce one quart of olive oil,” Vitina says. “And once you picked the olives, you only have 12 hours to start the process. The method of production was so awkward that a lot of olives went to waste.”

    In the early 1970s, Vince and his family purchased a centrifugal machine to help them produce the oil faster, and in 1996, more modern technology was installed. But in 2008, Papa Vince’s heir and current owner Vito Giaramida decided to spend almost $1 million upgrading the family’s operation to a cutting edge, eco-friendly, efficient system.

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    Rating: +1 (from 7 votes)
    As Americans learn more about the many benefits of olive oil, demand for it is increasing. To meet that demand, many low-quality olive oils, which lack the benefits that make olive oil such a popular choice, are lining our grocery store shelves. But a local couple is on a mission... 
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