`Olive Oil Campaigns in India

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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.”

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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.

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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