` Optimism Abounds at Indian Olive Association Meeting

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Optimism Abounds at Indian Olive Association Meeting

Jan. 25, 2012
By Olive Oil Times Staff

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Future Group’s Kishore Biyani and VN Dalmia at the annual meet­ing of the Indian Olive Asso­ci­a­tion in New Delhi, Jan­u­ary 13, 2012.

The Ambas­sadors of Spain, Italy, Por­tu­gal, Syria and Jor­dan were hon­ored guests at the annual meet­ing of the Indian Olive Asso­ci­a­tion last week.

The Fri­day evening meet­ing at a New Delhi hotel was presided over by Indian Olive Asso­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent VN Dalmia and his exec­u­tive coun­cil which includes exec­u­tives of Indian sub­sidiaries of multi­na­tion­als Borges, Cargill and Del Monte.

The keynote speaker was Kishore Biyani, CEO of Future Group, a pri­vately held com­pany that runs chains of large dis­count depart­ment stores and ware­house stores.

Biyani said his com­pany would take the lead” in pro­mot­ing olive oil to the Indian con­sumer. Olive oil sales at his Big Bazaar” chain were set to dou­ble each year, accord­ing to a state­ment, and reach an esti­mated Rs. 100 crores (about $20 mil­lion) in the year 2014.

Dalmia reported that olive oil sales in India were grow­ing annu­aly at a rate of more than 50 per­cent. He expected the 2011 import total to reach 6,000 tons, up from 4,000 in 2010.

These are nev­er­the­less incred­i­bly small num­bers for Indi­a’s 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple who each eat, on aver­age, 1/4 of a table­spoon per year of oil derived from olives.

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Most of the sales were for olive pomace oil — a grade of edi­ble oil chem­i­cally extracted from the left­over pits and skin that can­not be called olive oil” accord­ing to inter­na­tional stan­dards.

Dalmi­a’s com­pany recently spon­sored a clin­i­cal trial con­ducted by the Dia­betes Foun­da­tion of India and the National Dia­betes, Obe­sity & Cho­les­terol Foun­da­tion that showed the health ben­e­fits for Indi­ans who switched to olive pomace or canola oil from other oils that did not have a high con­tent of monoun­sat­u­rated fats.

Repeat­ing a point he’s been known to make, Dalmia said most Indi­ans thought olive oil was expen­sive, but when one con­sid­ers that you need just one-third as much as other edi­ble oils and it could be reused three times” that it was, in fact, one-ninth of its retail price.

Rajneesh Bhasin, the asso­ci­a­tion’s vice pres­i­dent and head of Borges India, added that a few years ago China was con­sum­ing only a few thou­sand tons of olive oil, much like India, but today con­sumed about 30,000 tons and he expected Indi­ans to fol­low the same pat­tern in the next few years.

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