Research on table olives has shown that the consumption of this product can strengthen consumers’ natural immune systems. Table olives could be the main fermented probiotic vegetable product sold in the future. The latest data provided by researchers from the PROBIOLIVES Project shows that some of the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) generated in the fermentation of table olives have better results than other forms of bacteria that have been recognised as probiotic microorganisms and that are currently used in many milk products.
From a nutritional perspective, a normal daily intake of olives, which would be of 25–28 g (approximately seven olives), has an energetic value of 37 Kcal. Those calories mainly come from the olives’ fat contents, 82% of which is monosaturated – the same healthy fat as is found in olive oil. The regular consumption of olives also helps provide the daily recommended fibre intake; they are a source of oleic acid and they provide carbohydrates and protein.
Olives also contain minerals such as sodium, iron, calcium and magnesium, which are particularly important for those who practice sports given their action on muscle contractions and nerve impulses. One of the main nutrients in table olives are
polyphenols and provitamins A and E, the antioxidant properties of which act against oxidative processes that occur in the practice of sport, affecting both performance during exercise and during the recovery period.
As part of the activities provided for in the International Agreement and its standardisation mandate, the IOC is responsible for drawing up and revising trade standards. In the case of the trade standard applying to table olives, it lays down definitions and provisions relating to the different commercial categories of table olives. Its work also includes revising the Codex Alimentarius standard for this product, with a view to regulating the quality criteria in international trade.
TRENDS IN GLOBAL CONSUMPTION OF TABLE OLIVES
The global consumption of table olives in recent years has multiplied by 2.7, increasing by 182.0% over the period 1990/91–2016/17. Graph 1 illustrates this trend, where the largest increase in consumption is seen in the main IOC member producers. Production in some of these countries has increased markedly, as a result of consumption. Egypt is
one such case, and which has gone from consuming 11 000 t in 1990/91 to 400 000 t in 2016/17. In this same period Algeria went from consuming 14 000 to 244 000 t and Turkey from 110 000 to 350 000 t.
The other countries have also seen increases, although these have been proportionally lower. Graph 2 shows the annual consumption of table olives per inhabitant in IOC member countries in 2015, with Albania in the lead with a consumption of 10.7kg/ inhabitant/ year.