`Olive Oil Campaigns in India - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil Campaigns in India

Dec. 20, 2010
Gita Narrayani

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By Gita Narrayani
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Kalkata

India is an entic­ing mar­ket with its bur­geon­ing mid­dle class, increas­ing glob­al­iza­tion and an aspi­ra­tional lifestyle. It has thus become a lucra­tive des­ti­na­tion for many prod­ucts, espe­cially in the food pro­cess­ing sec­tor that offers sub­stan­tial growth oppor­tu­ni­ties. Known as the sun­rise sec­tor’ the food pro­cess­ing indus­try has also brought to the fore­front healthy food alter­na­tives and one of these is olive oil as a cook­ing medium.

Olive oil con­sump­tion is grad­u­ally increas­ing as peo­ple are grow­ing more health- con­scious with doc­tors pre­scrib­ing the cook­ing medium to patients with
heart prob­lems. This ris­ing demand has prompted many pro­duc­ing coun­tries
and oth­ers to pro­mote olive oil in India, uti­liz­ing pri­mar­ily the health ben­e­fits as the unique sell­ing point. Olive oil is con­sid­ered one of the health­i­est cook­ing medi­ums in the world today and is known for its nutri­tious com­po­si­tion and its capac­ity to pre­vent sev­eral ail­ments includ­ing heart dis­ease and can­cer.

International Olive Council: The International Olive Council (IOC) was set up in 1959 in Madrid, Spain under the aus­pices of the United Nations and has been respon­si­ble for pop­u­lar­iz­ing the use of olive oil in sev­eral coun­tries. Since 2007, the IOC has been active in India pro­mot­ing olive oil among con­sumers and would be spend­ing 1 mil­lion euros (USD 1.3M) in a three-year cam­paign to ramp up olive oil sales.

V N Dalmia, President of the Indian Olive Association said recently In India, the con­sump­tion of olive oil was some­where around 1,500 tons in 2006. As a result of IOC’s rig­or­ous cam­paign­ing, the con­sump­tion of olive oil rose to 2,300 tons in a year’s time. In 2010-11, we expect the vol­ume to touch 3,000 tons, of which about 2,000 tons will be for edi­ble use.”

The pri­mary focus of the IOC cam­paign is to per­suade the Union Government to reduce import duty on olive oil from its present 50 to 25 per­cent, which would bring down prices by around 20 per­cent from the Rs. 500 (USD 11) per liter aver­age that it is sell­ing at now. The IOC is also advis­ing the gov­ern­ment to amend cer­tain food laws to bring the cur­rent olive oil stan­dards in line with inter­na­tional norms, which would help to increase con­sump­tion. India imports
around 2,300 tons of olive oil and the IOC wishes to enhance con­sump­tion that
would increase imports to 40,000 tons in the next five years.

The IOC in its pro­mo­tional cam­paign has orga­nized sem­i­nars with food writ­ers, work­shops with lead­ing chefs and pro­mo­tional activ­i­ties in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and a few other major cities. Celebrities have also been roped in like the famous chef and food writer Sanjeev Kapoor and Prahlad Kakkar, the film maker and foodie.

Spain enters the fray: With the Indian con­sumer mar­ket boom­ing with the launch of sev­eral reputed retail chains, com­pa­nies pro­duc­ing olive oil are prepar­ing to take advan­tage with the health and fit­ness’ trend. Taking note of all the pos­i­tive signs and the pro­jec­tion by the Indian Olive Association (IOA) that olive oil con­sump­tion would increase 9‑fold by 2012, the Spanish Embassy has launched a pro­mo­tional cam­paign in India.

The cam­paign which is restricted to the cap­i­tal New Delhi for now has included work­ing with health and fit­ness spe­cial­ists, dieti­cians, chefs and car­di­ol­o­gists to intro­duce olive oil to the Indian con­sumer. Spanish olive oil cur­rently has a 60 per­cent mar­ket share in India and pro­duc­ers keen to cap­i­tal­ize on this pos­i­tive trend, are said to have allo­cated around €30,000 (USD 39,000) for generic pro­mo­tional activ­i­ties, accord­ing to Jose Antonio Bretone, Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Spanish Embassy.

Efforts are on to make it cheaper; we have writ­ten to the Government to reduce the import tar­iff from 40 to 7 per­cent. Also con­sumers will have to look at it as an invest­ment in health”, says Ruth Abad, Commercial Attaché at the Spanish Embassy in New Delhi.

Turkey: Turkish pro­duc­ers wish to mar­ket their olive oil under their own labels, since Anatolia in cen­tral Turkey is con­sid­ered to be the ancient home­land of the olive tree. Looking at India as a mar­ket with poten­tial, the Turkish Olive and Olive Oil Promotion Group with 450 mem­bers has ini­ti­ated a mar­ket­ing project for Turkish olive oil in 2007.

We want to tell the peo­ple that olive oil from Turkey is of high qual­ity and as good as in Italy”, Mrs. Canan Inanc, one of the mem­bers, said.

The Group is aware that olive oil is yet to make a seri­ous dent in the Indian edi­ble oil mar­ket and is used in small quan­ti­ties when com­pared with other cook­ing oils. But Mehmet Aytek, Chief Commercial Counselor of the Turkish Embassy in New Delhi is opti­mistic about future prospects, with the IOC from Spain financ­ing a pro­mo­tional cam­paign and also the con­certed efforts to per­suade the Indian gov­ern­ment to reduce the cus­toms duty on olive oil.

OLiveitup!: A 3‑year pro­mo­tional cam­paign for European olive oil, OLiveitup is being financed by the European Union in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Italy. The cam­paign con­ducted and coor­di­nated by the Consortium of Guarantee of Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVC), has included train­ing and infor­ma­tion sem­i­nars to dis­sem­i­nate accu­rate data about the olive oils of European ori­gin. A wide range of activ­i­ties have been planned and some imple­mented, which includes work­shops, tour pro­grams, par­tic­i­pa­tion in food/trade fairs and exhi­bi­tions, tast­ing and cook­ery ses­sions and adver­tis­ing in print, tele­vi­sion and other major media. The objec­tive is to high­light the health ben­e­fits of olive oil and the need to include it in a bal­anced diet.

The Consortium of Guarantee of Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an Italian orga­ni­za­tion com­pris­ing peo­ple from the olive oil indus­try, who aim to prop­a­gate the unique prop­er­ties of extra vir­gin olive oil. The pro­mo­tional activ­ity has involved reputed chefs, food crit­ics, nutri­tion­ists and restau­ra­teurs, besides jour­nal­ists, importers, culi­nary schools and con­sumers who were inter­ested in know­ing about olive oil and how to incor­po­rate it in Indian cui­sine.

The Latest on the Indian Olive Oil Trail: A national con­test for the best bud­ding chef was recently held at the Banarsidas Chandiwala Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, New Delhi. Organized by the Consortium of Guarantee of Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVC), the com­pe­ti­tion was the cul­mi­na­tion of 3‑day train­ing pro­grams in the use of European olive oils held at the lead­ing hotel man­age­ment insti­tutes in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai from 11th to the 20th of November, 2010. Each insti­tute selected 5 win­ners to take part in the national con­test, where each chef had to cook an orig­i­nal Indian dish with extra vir­gin olive oil.

The panel of judges included Mauro Meloni Director of The Consortium of Guarantee of Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Chef Angelo Franchini, the for­mer Executive Chef at Peninsula Hotel, Beverly Hills, Chef Shaju Zacharia, Senior General Manager, Food & Beverage at DLF Recreational Foundation Ltd and V. N. Dalmia President of the Indian Olive Oil Association. The final win­ner was Manish Kamat from Rizvi College of Hotel Management, Mumbai who won the first prize for the inno­v­a­tive Bharela Dum Murg (Stuffed Chicken) cooked with extra vir­gin olive oil.

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The entire pro­gram was imple­mented with the objec­tive of famil­iar­iz­ing the future chefs of the hos­pi­tal­ity and cater­ing indus­tries with accu­rate infor­ma­tion about European extra vir­gin olive oil. The train­ing and the national con­test would be held again in 2011 and 2012 by the EVC in other hotel man­age­ment and cater­ing insti­tutes as part of the Oliveitup pro­mo­tional ini­tia­tive.

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