` Italian Olive Oil Association Meets Over Fresh Market Data - Olive Oil Times

Italian Olive Oil Association Meets Over Fresh Market Data

Jun. 20, 2011
Lucy Vivante

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ASSITOL, the Association of the Italian Oil Industry, rep­re­sent­ing pack­agers of olive oil and seed oils, held a con­fer­ence to review 2010 olive oil mar­ket vol­ume and give indi­ca­tions about the early months of 2011. Following the review, the press heard from a panel of experts dis­cussing some of the chal­lenges faced by mem­bers. The meet­ing was held on 15 June in Rome, at the Minerva hotel. It was a fit­ting place for the con­fer­ence since Minerva (Athena to the Greeks) was cred­ited with the cre­ation of the olive tree in the ancient world.

Claudio Ranzani, Director General of ASSITOL, went through the 2010 fig­ures which were more pos­i­tive for the domes­tic mar­ket and extra vir­gin than for the export mar­ket and other grades of olive oil. Members, which include such well-known com­pa­nies as Bertolli and Colavita, pack­aged about 250,000 tons of olive oil last year. Most of that, or 67 per­cent, was extra vir­gin olive oil; olive oil rep­re­sented 29 per­cent of the total; and the remain­ing rep­re­sented pomace oil. The oil the com­pa­nies pack­aged was approx­i­mately 60 per­cent imported and 40 per­cent domes­tic. Total ton­nage for 2010 fell by 1 per­cent from 2009 lev­els, with lower cost olive oil depress­ing the total.

Greater sales of the more valu­able extra vir­gin, and stronger pric­ing made up for the slip in ton­nage. Mr. Ranzani shared a slide with inter­est­ing data for the export of niche extra vir­gins. For the export mar­kets, DOP/IGP was up a nice 21 per­cent over 2009, Italian extra vir­gin was up a more mod­est 4 per­cent, while organic was down 8 per­cent. ASSITOL com­pa­nies gen­er­ated one bil­lion euros last year.

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The new EU reg­u­la­tions for max­i­mum allow­able alkyl esters is seen as a pos­i­tive by ASSITOL. The audi­ence heard from Professor Lanfranco Conte from the University of Udine, who spoke about the gen­e­sis of the alkyl ester tests and the impor­tance of ring tests. He was par­tic­u­larly con­cerned with the lack of fund­ing for uni­ver­sity research, too few stu­dents, and what this will mean for the future.

Ranieri Filo della Torre, Director of UNAPROL, a con­sor­tium of 550,000 olive grow­ers, spoke about con­trols nec­es­sary for ensur­ing high qual­ity prod­ucts. He made ref­er­ence to the recent tragic deaths from e‑coli in North Germany to under­score the impor­tance of clear sup­ply chains to insure safety. Other speak­ers spoke about mer­cu­r­ial EU label­ing rules, and the recent stop­ping of olive oil ship­ments at the ports. Under the regime of the new agri­cul­ture min­is­ter, Saverio Romano, ship­ments have been stopped for test­ing, delay­ing the cargo for weeks, result­ing in furi­ous clients.

In the European Union, Germany, France, and Britain are the biggest importers of oil from ASSITOL com­pa­nies. Outside of the EU, the coun­tries are the United States, Japan, and Australia. January 2011 export num­bers have improved by 30 per­cent over January 2010.

One con­fer­ence attendee, Mauro Meloni, an extra vir­gin con­sul­tant, in casual con­ver­sa­tion voiced his plea­sure with Michelle Obama who is focus­ing on improv­ing the American diet. The First Lady has shared recipes using olive oil. He was doing some math, If U.S. cit­i­zens were to eat 23 grams or two table­spoons of extra vir­gin olive oil every day, there would­n’t be enough.” And with his smile, you could see it would be a prob­lem he’d like to have.

Conference speak­ers included Palmino Poli, pres­i­dent of ASSITOL; Claudio Ranzani, direc­tor gen­eral of ASSITOL; Lanfranco Conti, University of Udine, Angelo Cremonini, President of Olio di Oliva” Group; Domenico Mastrogiovanni, CIA; Vincenzo Peluso, AGEA; Giuseppe Di Rubbo, MIPAAF-POCOI IV; Raniero Filo della Torre, Director of UNAPROL; and Giorgio Dell’Orefice, Agrisole.

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With thanks to Silvia Cerioli, ASSITOL Press Officer

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