Five Tips and Truths About California Extra Virgin Olive Oil

By Alissa Merksamer on July 26, 2013 1:00 PM

Cali Olive Oil

Consumers unwittingly collect olive oil as they would wine, decorating their counters with lean, dark bottles emblazoned in elegant labels to be used sparingly over the next year or more. However, reports of an influx of counterfeit extra virgin olive oil from overseas have buoyed local producers’ efforts to show shoppers their California product is not only pure, but fresher and tastier.   Continue Reading

Olive Oil Industry Megatrends

June 26 2013

By Simon Field  |  Victoria, Australia

The global olive industry is a complex matrix of production, distribution and consumer behavior which changes daily with climatic conditions, political activity and the decisions of businesses, large and small. The industry does not operate in isolation, it is affected by the trends in competing vegetable oil industries, the global financial situation, social imperatives and the emergence of new technology. Olive oil consumption has a very long history and an assured future. The future will be shaped by the global industry’s recognition and strategic response to the many challenges it will face. An important step in responding effectively at local, regional and international levels is the recognition of the most important trends which will influence the industry over the next ten years. The following ‘megatrends’ are identified as the most significant factors which should be considered when planning to sustain and grow all small, medium and large olive oil enterprises.

Globalization

Historically the olive industry has been concentrated in, and controlled by, Mediterranean countries. Over the past two decades there has been an expansion of the production base to countries which previously were net importers, namely the USA, Australia, Chile and more recently China and India. While production in these countries is less than 2% of world production, their presence has had an impact on the global politics of olive oil as the new entrants strive to displace imports with domestic products and expand into the export market

Traditional producing countries, especially Spain, have expanded their production base into neighboring countries such as Portugal and Morocco, as well as establishing joint ventures in South America, China and India.

The aggressive growth of the industry in Spain has resulted in the acquisition of brands which traditionally were associated with Italy. This trend has resulted in a blurring of the association of brands with particular producing countries and seen the growth of large corporations operating without the constraints of borders. Continue Reading

Rule on Serving Olive Oil Stirs Ridicule and Anger in Europe

By   Published: May 23, 2013

BRUSSELS — With the European economy reeling from austerity and joblessness, the European Union took time last week to focus on something rather smaller in scale: it approved a measure that would ban restaurants from serving olive oil in cruets or dipping bowls.

The reaction was severe. Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands condemned the measure, calling it “too bizarre for words” and not at all green.

Criticism was particularly harsh in Britain, often the first among critics of the European Union’s reach.

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Mediterranean Diet Shown to Ward Off Heart Attack and Stroke

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February 25, 2013

About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found.

The findings, published on The New England Journal of Medicine’s Web site on Monday, were based on the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.

The diet helped those following it even though they did not lose weight and most of them were already taking statins, or blood pressure or diabetes drugs to lower their heart disease risk.

“Really impressive,” said Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. “And the really important thing — the coolest thing — is that they used very meaningful endpoints. They did not look at risk factors like cholesterol or hypertension or weight. They looked at heart attacks and strokes and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters.”  Until now, evidence that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease was weak, based mostly on studies showing that people from Mediterranean countries seemed to have lower rates of heart disease — a pattern that could have been attributed to factors other than diet.  

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U.S. Olive Oil Makers Say Imports Aren’t Always So ‘Extra Virgin’

by 

Surprise: Some of the best-tasting extra-virgin olive oils are now being produced domestically. Think Texas, California, Florida.

Italians may still be light-years ahead when it comes to gelato, but when it comes to extra-virgin olive oil? Watch out: U.S. producers are on it.

Across the country, this small industry is expanding. Out West, there’s California Olive Ranch, where production has grown tenfold over the past six years; it’s now producing upwards of 2 million gallons of olive oil a year. Down South, Cowgirl Brands in Dallas is putting, yes, Texas on the olive oil map. There’s even a Native American brand, Seka Hills.   Continue Reading