Saturday, January 3, 2015

Off-the-Shelf Olive Oil Competition in USA and Canada to Reward Value for Money

A new Olive Oil competition planned for North America during 2015 will reset consumers’ expectations of awards in the olive oil industry. The results will be announced at a two-day conference in Chicago on 25 and 26 August.

The competition will introduce a number of innovations by evaluating the olive oils on a range of attributes important to consumers:
  • Entries will be collected off-the-shelf as the consumers would buy the products
  • The olive oils must be available in the USA and/or Canada
  • Scoring will include points for:
    • flavour
    • percentage of healthy monounsaturated fats
    • smoke point
    • price
 The winners will reflect ‘value for money‘ and the judging panel will be consumer-based.
The organisers are the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) in association with International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes. The competition is designed to give greater credibility to awarded olive oils.

An off-the shelf competition is unique and highly credible because it prevents suppliers from developing an olive oil to be used for competition entries that is different from the oil sold in the marketplace under the same brand.

Entries for the competition will open in early 2015 with the winners being announced at the Chicago event at the end of August 2015.

Eryn Balch, Executive Vice President of the NAOOA, when announcing the new competition said: ‘We hope to redesign the landscape of olive oil competitions worldwide by concentrating on the factors important to consumers, namely flavor, health benefits, smoke point and price. The concept of value for money – high quality flavorsome extra virgin olive oil at a reasonable price – will catch on.’

She added ’we have also included a category for olive oil grade products to communicate to consumers that although extra virgin is the best olive oil, all olive oil is better than other vegetable oils’.

Further details of the competition and Chicago Conference will be available through a link to by the end of January. 

Champion Extra Virgin Olive Oil Taster Competition

A competition to find the most accomplished taster of extra virgin olive oil will be staged in Chicago, USA on 26 August 2015.

Organised by International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes in association with the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), the competition will be open to all those attending a major event in Chicago planned for August 25 and 26, 2015.

Tasters will be invited to undertake a series of taste tests which will recognise their:
  • ability to detect and describe defects in extra virgin olive oil,
  • rank different intensities,
  • discern between different aromas and tastes, and
  • identify extra virgin olive oils from different varieties and regions worldwide.
 Those who take the tests will also have the option of being ranked on the International Register of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes. A score of 60% will accord the status of Associate Savante and 80% the status of Savante. Currently there are nine Associate Savantes worldwide coming from Spain, Canada, New Zealand, USA and Jordan.

The International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes programme was founded in 2001 to provide professional development towards the expert understanding of the tastes and uses of extra virgin olive oil. Courses are run annually in various countries including Italy, USA, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and United Kingdom.

Savantes is an independent enterprise which does not accept sponsorship or support from any organisation which would be seen to compromise the ability to present objectively the full range of styles of high quality extra virgin olive produced around the world. For the courses producers are invited to submit their oils for tasting with the invitations predicated on quality, awards and differentiation.

Principal and organiser of Savantes, Simon Field said when announcing the plans for the competition ’ This will present a great opportunity for tasters from all parts of the global olive industry to assess their skills, not only in technical tasting but also in recognising varietals from other regions’.

He continued, ‘There are many tasters at all levels of the industry who are self-trained or formally trained. Now is the time for them to have their skills recognised and publicised on an international register of tasters. We also hope it will encourage those who do not achieve the higher scores to engage in further training and experience to come back next year to gain higher recognition.’

Further details of the competition and Chicago Conference will be available through a link to by the end of January.