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The Olive Industry
This section contains information about the olive industry around the world. It includes articles about importing and exporting olive products, olive producing countries as well as links to associations and organisations around the world.
Red Island Sell Out
The Red Island brand has been sold to Boundary Bend Limited for $4 million in cash. Red Island is the second highest performing brand in Australian supermarkets, Cobram Estate, also owned by Boundary Bend, is the highest.
A spokesperson for the Australian Olive Association commented ‘This acquisition will ensure that both brands thrive and will potentially lead to more Australian olive oil being sold on supermarket shelves which is a good thing for growers and for consumers’ (Weekly Times 21 November 2012’.
AOA Tops Medal Tally in 2012
An analysis of some of the most recognised extra virgin olive oil competitions in Australia in 2012 shows that over 50% of olive oils entered in the Australian Olive Oil Association National Competition were awarded the highest medal scores across all the competitions analysed. In two cases, an oil entered in the Melbourne and Sydney Fine Food Shows did not receive a medal and received a Silver in the AOA competition.
The judging panels in the competitions are no longer published, making it difficult to assess experience and possible style preferences. In the past the Sydney and Melbourne competitions have included more judges from all sections of the food industry whereas the AOA panel has been drawn almost entirely from producers.
The Costs of Compliance Testing for Small Producers
The tightening of standards and labelling requirements for extra virgin olive oil worldwide will increase the compliance testing for all brands.
The market order which is proposed in the USA and the push to make the Australian Standards for Olive Oil law in Australia is expected to make retailers more diligent in ensuring the product on their shelves is compliant. This in turn will increase pressure on small producers to produce certificates of authenticity for their oils showing that they meet the specifications detailed in the various standards.
Will Shortfall in Spain Cause a Price Surge?
After historical lows, prices quoted for extra virgin olive oils in Europe are rising rapidly. The rise is attributed to predictions of up to a 40% shortfall in production in Spain compared to the previous season. In anticipation many suppliers are holding on to stocks to take advantage of higher prices. This in turn creates a shortage and forces prices up further.
Producers all over the world are citing the expected price increase as the saviour from financial ruin. Will prices go high enough to deliver this hope?
Last year Spain produced a record crop of around 1,500,000 tonnes, approximately 300,000 tonnes above the long term average of 1,200,000 tonnes, and approximately 200,000 tonnes above the previous year. This record crop resulted in carryover stocks of 600,000 tonnes, 300,000 tonnes above the medium term average.
An Inconvenient Truth
In reporting on a meeting of the American Oil Chemists Society, the Australian and New Zealand Olive Grower and Processor (October 2012 pp9-10) includes a table (FIG.1) with the title ‘% samples failing both sensory and chemical tests’. Apparently the table was part of a presentation drawing from a recent UC Davis report on olive oils for sale in California.
The table shows that Californian Olive Ranch and Cobram Estate oils tested passed all the tests. Following the links to UC Davis provided in the article reveals that there were two UC Davis reports on the quality of olive oil, the latest being released in April 2011. This is the only report in which Cobram Estate and California Olive Ranch olive oils were tested.