Olive Oil Business
Spain´s mills monopolize quality awards; however the low prices threaten the sector´s viability.
Messages from the Administration insist again and again that the future of the sector should be linked to quality. And a number of mills throughout the community have understood this, and thus are making quality their primary hallmark.
- Only in the province of Jaen, olive-growing area par excellence, six private oilers have monopolized this year all the main national and international awards. Read also about Olive Oil Awards.
However, the paradox is that while these awards keep arriving, the viability of the mills is seriously threatened by the low prices of extra virgin olive oil.
- “Today, producing quality olive oil is not good business, and if we go on like this, many of us will have to close down” said José Vico, manager of Potosi 10, a private oil producer in the Sierra de Segura which pioneered the packaging of top quality olive oil, and won the Award of the Ministry of Environment for the last three years, as well as the International Olive Oil Council in the category of green fruit this year.
Obtaining the best possible oil forces these industries to advance the harvest season, grind immediately and carry out the cold extraction, thus greatly increasing costs. Advancing the collection to November about 10 kilos of olives are required to obtain each liter of oil, two times more than would be the case a month later.
Yields are lower, but in return you get an oil of the highest organoleptic qualities.
- “It’s a great effort that can only be undertaken by the private mills,” says Teodosio Sanchez of the Association of Oil Packers (Apeva).
- However, the current price of extra virgin olive oil is just over two Euros per kilo and, even worse the lampante oil differential (the worst quality) is shortened even more. “The awards are important, but it is more important to sell our oil at profitable prices,” said José Miguel Sabalete, form “Aceites San Antonio”, silver medal in the fruity category in Los Angeles (United States).
- The “Andalusian Sector for Virgin Olive Oil with Designation of Origin” has asked the Administration to make “a firm commitment to support quality extra virgin olive oil”.
In addition, it calls upon “intensifying controls on trade, verifying not only the quality but also suspiciously low prices that prevail in the market and cause an increasing deterioration in the oils quality and production, because producing quality virgin olive oil becomes not profitable”.
Furthermore, they consider necessary to check “misleading advertising campaigns that are being detected in different media, leading to consumer confusion and deterioration of incalculable dimensions of the consumer´s concept about the Spanish extra virgin olive oil.
The producers criticize that official promotional campaigns both from the ministry and the “Junta”, highlight the term olive oil, and not the extra virgin olive oil, which is the main distinctive sign of quality. “The promotions with public money are not opting for quality”.