`Olive Oils from Near and Far Showcased at Winter Fancy Food Show - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oils from Near and Far Showcased at Winter Fancy Food Show

By Marcel E. Moran
Jan. 22, 2014 12:26 UTC
The NASFT Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, January 21, 2014.

With over 18,000 peo­ple esti­mated in atten­dance, noth­ing seems small about the 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show in down­town San Francisco. The aisles of ven­dors, booths, and sam­ples stretch seem­ingly with­out end, and the air is thick with fine food. Now in its 39th year, the show con­tin­ues to bring together olive oil pro­duc­ers from around the world and as near as next door.

A show where you can cater to a highly knowl­edge­able con­sumer.- Felipe Cruz, Olave

As the largest spe­cialty food show in the Western United States, many olive oil pro­duc­ers were excited to be a part of an event that con­nects them to a wide range of poten­tial cus­tomers and dis­trib­u­tors. There is such incred­i­ble access to inter­na­tional accounts,” said Greg Hinson, of O Olive Oil from Petaluma, California. This was not only the case for local brands.

Kim Graw, a US rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Greek olive oil com­pany A Ro Gos believes this show pro­vides the chance to intro­duce her brand to the West Coast where rep­re­sen­ta­tion is lack­ing. This was echoed by Felipe Cruz of Olave, hail­ing from Chile. This is a show for our type of prod­uct, where you can cater to a highly knowl­edge­able con­sumer,” he said. Olave was not the only pro­ducer from South America; brands from Argentina and Uruguay were also present, and eager to empha­size their coun­try’s recent growth in olive oil pro­duc­tion.

The show is not only a chance for atten­dees to sam­ple food and speak with ven­dors, but an oppor­tu­nity for all mem­bers to par­tic­i­pate in work­shops and sem­i­nars on the busi­ness of spe­cialty foods, with ses­sions rang­ing from eth­i­cal sourc­ing to prin­ci­ples of mar­ket­ing. The California Olive Oil Council took the edu­ca­tional mis­sion of the show into its own hands by offer­ing lessons in olive oil tast­ing and rat­ing. Nancy Ash, the edu­ca­tion coor­di­na­tor for the COOC dis­cussed the goals of olive oil test­ing, and walked atten­dees through iden­ti­fy­ing dif­fer­ent qual­i­ties, includ­ing aro­mas, signs of defects, and use­ful descrip­tors from pep­pery to pun­gent, flo­ral to bit­ter.

O Olive Oil

One com­mon topic men­tioned by California pro­duc­ers at the show was the early har­vest of the past year, which for some came a full month ahead of sched­ule. These dif­fer­ences in tim­ing can be sig­nif­i­cant for brands that include other fruits and veg­eta­bles in their oils, which also fol­low yearly cycles, from cit­rus to basil. Producers also men­tioned the impend­ing dam­age of the cur­rent drought on next year’s crops, with the sever­ity still unknown, and many were in the process of imple­ment­ing alter­na­tive irri­ga­tion meth­ods to avoid large reduc­tions in yield.

For those that have been com­ing to the Fancy Food Show con­sis­tently, it marks a yearly chance to gauge dif­fer­ences in atten­dees’ appetites and tastes. There have been a lot of changes over the years,” Kathy Griset, of Cibaria International said. The American palate has increased to where it has now devel­oped a taste for vari­etals.” For other long time par­tic­i­pants, com­ing to this show boils down to the bot­tom line. Representatives of BR Cohn Olive Oil Company from Sonoma, California said that just two hours into the first day, many orders had already been placed. After 15 years at the show for the brand, some met­rics don’t change.


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