The figures say it all: the “superfood” that is olive oil remains as popular as ever. If we look at organic olive oils in particular, the annual report produced by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture in Switzerland (FiBL) and IFOAM – Organics International, the international umbrella organization for the organic agriculture movement, tells us that about 6.5 % of the world’s land used for olives is dedicated to growing organic varieties. There is no doubt that this is a significant percentage, but only 1 % of the planet’s farmland is actually cultivated using organic practices.
There haven’t been any catastrophic losses recently like those that have often occurred in previous years this decade. In addition, the biggest countries in terms of production have reported good or very good harvests. The International Olive Council in Madrid (IOC) has estimated the increase in global production to be approximately 14 %, which equates to a total quantity of 2,894,000 tonnes. European organic producers can be especially pleased with the 2017/2018 year so far. A third of organic permanent crops in Europe consist of olive trees. The estimated increase of 5 % in the total demand compared to last year, which the IOC has translated as 2,954,000 tonnes, will also have an impact in organic retail, because olive oil is a strong revenue driver there.
A good harvest of healthy fruit results in good olive oils. In organic farming, there are many environmental factors, such as infestations of insects, that pose a threat to crops, however. The first few reports from Western Mediterranean countries, which had already completed their harvest by the end of the year, suggest there is reason to be optimistic about future organic crops though. With 197,000 ha, which equates to 8 % of Spain’s organically cultivated olive tree land, the country remains the top producer in the EU. By carrying out some intensive research work in the area of organic agriculture and making appropriate investments, Spain has also brought about a significant increase in the quality of its organic olive oils and this became evident during the Olive Oil Awards at BIOFACH 2017 in particular.
First place not only went to an oil from Andalusia, but the rest of the TOP 10 were dominated by Spanish oils too. Italy, which has a smaller amount of land for organic olives (180,000 ha), is expected to produce some top-quality oils again as well, however, as climatic conditions have been favourable and the harvest had already been processed by the end of November 2017 in most areas.
To sum up, an exciting range of oils from all over the world can be expected in the OLIVE OIL World of Experience in hall 4 at the upcoming BIOFACH, which takes place from 14 to 17 February 2018. In addition, a number of new features that will involve trade visitors even more interactively and offer them sensory experiences are set to be unveiled in the world of experience.
For more information and an overview of the OLIVE OIL World of Experience programme, visit: Experience the World of OLIVE OIL