`Health and Sustainability in the Spotlight at 3rd Yale Symposium - Olive Oil Times

Health and Sustainability in the Spotlight at 3rd Yale Symposium

Feb. 16, 2022
Ylenia Granitto

Recent News

Researchers, sci­en­tists, indus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives and exec­u­tives from sev­eral orga­ni­za­tions gath­ered in Jaén, Spain, for the Third International Yale Symposium on Olive Oil and Health late last year.

Held in con­junc­tion with the Fourth International Congress on Olive Oil, Olive Groves and Health, the event aimed at high­light­ing and pro­mot­ing the role of olive tree cul­ti­va­tion in plan­e­tary health and the impact of olive oil’s health ben­e­fits.

We are now becom­ing more aware that we have done a lot of dam­age on this planet, and the olive tree is a true resource that can be used to start revers­ing this.- Tassos C. Kyriakides, co-chair­man, International Yale Synposium

It has been an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence, which brought together lead­ing pro­fes­sion­als of the sec­tor from sev­eral coun­tries,” Tassos C. Kyriakides, the co-chair­man of the orga­niz­ing com­mit­tee from the Yale School of Public Health, told Olive Oil Times.

Besides high­light­ing the impor­tance of incor­po­rat­ing extra vir­gin olive oil in our daily lives, the event focused on plan­e­tary health, cir­cu­lar econ­omy, bio-econ­omy and sus­tain­abil­ity of agri­cul­ture, giv­ing rise to stim­u­lat­ing debates and seek­ing answers on the most press­ing chal­lenges today,” he added.


Tassos C. Kyriakides

Emphasizing the crit­i­cal role of extra vir­gin olive oil as a fun­da­men­tal food in human nutri­tion, the sym­po­sium pro­vided an exten­sive dis­cus­sion on the lat­est research results.

Among the many top­ics exam­ined in the health and dis­ease sec­tion, the dis­cus­sion of olive oil’s phe­no­lic com­pounds, their syn­er­gis­tic inter­ac­tion and their impact on the human body stirred up par­tic­u­lar inter­est.

We dis­cussed how the olive tree and its prod­ucts give more than health,” Kyriakides said. In addi­tion to being ben­e­fi­cial for us as human beings, they also ben­e­fit our planet.”

In the plan­e­tary health and sus­tain­abil­ity sec­tion of the sym­po­sium, pre­sen­ta­tions focused on the envi­ron­ment and cli­mate change, with experts empha­siz­ing how the olive sec­tor offers a unique oppor­tu­nity to explore the cir­cu­lar econ­omy con­cepts within the realm of bio-econ­omy.

Several stud­ies were pre­sented that high­lighted the role of sus­tain­able olive grove man­age­ment in reduc­ing green­house gas emis­sions, thus con­tribut­ing to the reduc­tion of adverse effects on cli­mate and heat.

Examples of pro­grams that pro­mote the increase of bio­di­ver­sity in the olive groves were also pre­sented.


We are now becom­ing more aware that we have done a lot of dam­age on this planet, and the olive tree is a true resource that can be used to start revers­ing this,” Kyriakides said. I think that, espe­cially after hav­ing gone through two years of this pan­demic, we have to restart and reset. Let us also say to go back to basic envi­ron­men­tally-friendly and sus­tain­able ideas and con­cepts.”

While it was clearly pre­sented that the Covid-19 pan­demic has pro­vided an oppor­tu­nity for the olive oil sec­tor across mar­kets because con­sumers have exper­i­mented more at home with olive oil, the sym­po­sium also high­lighted some chal­lenges that sec­tor oper­a­tors should address at an inter­na­tional level:

  • The global avail­abil­ity of a larger vari­ety of high-qual­ity oils;
  • The cre­ation of value among young peo­ple; focused work with chefs, who, as opin­ion lead­ers, influ­encers and front-line links, can teach and trans­mit directly to the con­sumer;
  • The cre­ation of con­fi­dence in the olive oil chain’s agents and in prod­uct label­ing;
  • An increase in con­sumer knowl­edge and exper­tise in para­me­ters such as the def­i­n­i­tion of qual­ity oils and their dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion from oils of lower qual­ity;
  • The intro­duc­tion of oil in con­sumers’ daily lives through recipes and other uses.

These con­clu­sions were reached dur­ing the mar­ket­ing sec­tion of the sym­po­sium, in which the speak­ers pre­sented and dis­cussed con­sumer trend reports and suc­cess­ful olive oil mar­ket­ing and prod­uct pro­mo­tion efforts from around the world.

The sym­po­sium atten­dees were reminded that con­sumers buy prod­ucts mainly because of the pos­i­tive attrib­utes to human well­be­ing they can gen­er­ate and pro­vide. In the case of olive oil, the pre­sen­ta­tions under­scored that there are great oppor­tu­ni­ties since olive tree prod­ucts are already con­sid­ered a source of well­ness.

In pro­vid­ing sum­ma­rized insights, the sym­po­sium pointed to the fact that the pos­i­tive health effects of olive oils have been the deter­min­ing fac­tors for the increase in world­wide demand over the last three decades, dur­ing which con­sump­tion has dou­bled (from 1.5 mil­lion to more than three mil­lion tons),” Kyriakides said.

However, it was noted that both cur­rently and going for­ward, fac­tors such as the pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion and impact of olive oil on sus­tain­abil­ity, cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion and bio­di­ver­sity will be key to the con­tin­ued devel­op­ment of global demand,” he added.

The symposium’s orga­niz­ers con­cluded that the exist­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive work between the human and plan­e­tary health dimen­sions of the olive grove can serve as an impe­tus for a broader and more impact­ful syn­ergy between the two.

They added that this syn­ergy should embrace research, edu­ca­tion and engage­ment of the whole spec­trum of olive sec­tor com­mu­ni­ties and stake­hold­ers.

This sym­po­sium has sig­naled a call to action to estab­lish clear and spe­cific objec­tives with impact­ful and assess­able out­comes and results,” Kyriakides said. Health, both human and plan­e­tary, have always been inter­twined and the path for­ward should facil­i­tate and strengthen their syn­ergy toward the max­i­mum mutual ben­e­fit.”

The Fourth International Yale Symposium on Olive Oil and Health, co-orga­nized by the University of Roma Tor Vergata and the University of Bari Aldo Moro, will take place in Rome in early December 2022.

Olive Oil Times Video Series

Related Articles

Feedback / Suggestions