Monthly Archives: January 2011

Report on the American Olive Oil Consumer

A recent report by consultancy firm Datamonitor on the promotion and consumption of olive oil and table olives in the USA and Canada, has noted that although consumer demand for table olives has declined, the olive oil industry is in a very strong position.

The report, which was commissioned by the International Olive Council, confirmed that olive oil has gained in popularity in recent years with predictions for both value and volume growth expected to continue to outdo those of other fats, oils and spreads leading up to 2013. Average value increases are expected to be 7.8% with a volume growth forecast of 3.9%. These figures compare to an overall industry growth of only 3.7% as consumers better understand the health benefits of olive oil and are more willing to pay to achieve those benefits.

The consumption of fats, oils and spreads in both the US and Canada remains high. Overall it is estimated that in kilograms Americans consume 30 kilograms of fats, oils and spreads annually, with the average Canadian consuming 27 kilograms. In terms of calorie intake, US consumers get 25% of their daily allowance from this sector, compared to a Canadian daily intake of 17%. Olive oil was recognized as competing primarily for its share in the market in salad dressings, marinades, sautés, grills, deep frying and baking. On a secondary basis olive oil competes with butter and other spreads as a topping on bread, pasta and potatoes, as well as for some pan-frying applications.

Although the focus on trans-fats has been good for olive oil’s image and sales, it has not seen competition in the market completely fall away as products like shortening and margarine were able to adjust their formulas accordingly. Other products have been seen to latch on directly to the health benefits of olive oil without delivering.

This has been particularly evident in spreads, many of which in adding a small amount of olive oil to their existing formulas have been able to create the idea in consumers’ minds that the same benefits can be applied using these products as with olive oil itself. This is however, largely misleading as many such products incorporate only a very small amount of olive oil among the other ingredients. The report also suggests that claims to health improvement in this area may resonate most highly with those consumers who resist moving away from the products and spreads with which they have become most familiar. It also stated that consumers could show reluctance to move away from spreads because of confusion caused by diversity within the olive oil category.

On top of this, the study found that in attempting to share health benefits with olive oil, these products create further confusion for consumers about the validity of health claims and their relative importance. The result is that consumers are being constantly asked to asses new information about fats which, when supported by major brand marketing budgets, dilutes positive messages associated with olive oil.

The study, commissioned by the International Olive Council, has received positive response within the industry. On Janury 14th, while attending the mid year meeting of the North American Olive Oil Association, IOC Executive Director Jean-Louis Barjol announced that an invitation would be issued in March for a campaign to promote olive oil and table olives in North America in 2011 and 2012, a move welcomed by the NAOO and for which this study will prove extremely useful.

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Jean-Louis Barjol named Executive Director of the International Olive Council

Jean-Louis Barjol

Jean-Louis Barjol has been named Executive Director of the International Olive Council, the intergovernmental agency based in Madrid. Twenty-three nations belong to the International Olive Council, and participant members decide on the directorship. Barjol takes the place of Mohammed Ouhmad Sbitri, who headed the organization from November, 2007 until December, 2010. Directorship of the IOC lasts for three years, and Barjol will lead the organization from through December, 2014. For the past two years, Barjol served as the deputy director of the organization, overseeing the Administrative & Financial and Survey & Assessment divisions. Barjol has been working on geographic indication
questions, and especially exploring ways to develop areas outside of the
European Union.

Barjol has worked both in the public and private sectors. Before being recruited by the IOC, Barjol was the director general of the Comité Européen des Fabricants de Sucre (CEFS), known in English as the European Committee of Sugar Manufacturers. He worked at CEFS from 1998 to 2009. Another career highlight is Barjol’s knighthood, the Chevalier du Mérite Agricole Français, received when he served as France’s Agricultural Attaché in Spain between 1995 and 1998. Barjol has a degree from the Institut National Agronomique de Paris in agricultural engineering, with a specialization in economics.

International Olive Oil Council

With a review of the names of the latest executive directors of the IOC, one senses that nationals from countries other than the top olive oil producers, Spain, Italy and Greece, are preferred. Mr. Barjol is a Frenchman. France does produce olive oil, just not very much. In the 2008/2009 season, France produced 6,500 tons, versus Spain’s 1,150,000 tons.

Starting this year, there will be only one deputy director, rather than two. The IOC is in the process of searching for a new deputy director. That appointment is expected to be announced at the Council’s next meeting on February 11, 2011.

More Evidence Olive Oil is Good for the Heart

Researchers from the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute in Florence, Italy have published a study that claims that women who eat olive oil and leafy vegetables have a lower risk of getting heart disease. The research claims that women who consume at least three tablespoons of olive oil a day are 40 percent less likely to develop heart disease.

In an interview with Reuters Health, the study’s author, Dr. Domenico Palli from the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute, said that it remains unclear how the consumption of olive oil reduces the risk of heart disease. “Probably the
mechanisms responsible for the protective effect of plant-origin foods on
cardiovascular diseases involve micronutrients such as folate, antioxidant
vitamins and potassium, all present in green leafy vegetables,” Palli said.

Palli said that the positive effects on the heart might be due to folate, which lowers the blood levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine, which damages the inner lining of arteries, is said to increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. Palli adds that virgin olive oil, which has high levels of antioxidant plant compounds, is likely to be effective at lowering the risk of heart disease.

The research also found that women who consume at least an ounce of olive oil a day are 44 percent less likely to develop heart disease. The study is not the first to claim a link between olive oil and a reduced risk for heart disease. The Mediterranean diet, an important component of which is olive oil, is said to lower risk the of heart disease as well as cancer and diabetes.

For the study, Dr. Palli and his colleagues collected dietary information from about 30,000 women in Italy. Researchers followed women with a mean age of 50 for an average of eight years. In a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers reported that subjects experienced 144 major heart disease-related events for the duration of the study. The events include cases of heart attacks and bypass surgery.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive Oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins, and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil which can be consumed as it is – freshly pressed from the fruit. The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels. No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid. Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil’s protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.

1st Press 100% Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Madonia.

Studies have shown that people who consumed 25 milliliters (ml) – about 2 tablespoons – of virgin olive oil daily for 1 week showed less oxidation of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidant compounds, particularly phenols, in the blood. But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, extra virgin olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed. Olive oil is clearly one of the good oils, one of the healing fats. Most people do quite well with it since it does not upset the critical omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and most of the fatty acids in olive oil are actually an omega-9 oil which is monounsaturated. Additionally, researchers suggest that including olive oil in your diet may also offer benefits in terms of colon cancer prevention.

The Cold Stone Press

What better way to inaugurate this blog than with the old, cold, stone press? Nothing conjures up images of antique Sicily like one of these ancient creations.

The Old Cold Stone Press

The Old Cold Stone Press

Beautiful, isn’t it? For thousands of years, that’s been the highest quality method for producing olive oil. This is still the only way you want your olive oil produced, not by decanter centrifugation or the Sinolea Method, as it provides the most healthful product. All of the olive oil Global Exports sells is produced this way — always has been, always will be.