`Pitching an Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Kids - Olive Oil Times

Pitching an Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Kids

Oct. 4, 2010
Daniel Williams

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As dieti­cians and nutri­tion­ists con­tinue to extol the var­i­ous ben­e­fits of long-term olive oil con­sump­tion present in the Mediterranean diet, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics has taken this rec­om­men­da­tion one step fur­ther by advo­cat­ing the addi­tion of 3 – 6 tea­spoons of extra vir­gin olive oil in the food of infants as young as 6 months old.

In response to this pre­scrip­tion, Spanish pro­ducer Vega Carabaña has filled this sup­ply gap by launch­ing its newest prod­uct, Peque Oliva– an extra vir­gin olive oil man­u­fac­tured specif­i­cally for chil­dren. Peque Oliva olive oil con­tains no traces of chem­i­cals or pes­ti­cides, boasts low lev­els of free fatty acid­ity (>0.2%) to allow for easy infant diges­tion and con­tains a higher oleic acid and polyphe­nol con­tent than stan­dard olive oils.

Peque Oliva is pro­duced in the River Tajuña region located south of Madrid and is extracted from the olives from plan­ta­tions with trees more than 100 years old. The com­pany main­tains that the matu­rity of these trees as well as exten­sive research on olive vari­eties and sus­tain­able farm­ing processes all con­tribute to an opti­mized pro­duc­tion of an infant-friendly extra vir­gin olive oil with supe­rior organolep­tic prop­er­ties.

Jose Cabrera Fernández, the busi­ness man­ager of Vega Carabaña, revealed that father­hood was the inspi­ra­tion behind Peque Oliva.” He explained that in Spain, there have been food prod­ucts of all kinds adapted to the European reg­u­la­tions for infant con­sump­tion, but we found noth­ing in the mar­ket for infant olive oil. The reg­u­la­tions are very restric­tive with respect to the lev­els of pes­ti­cides for infants and this gave us the drive to cre­ate the prod­uct.”

Fernández fur­ther dis­closed that in order to pro­duce the high-qual­ity Peque Oliva oil suit­able for chil­dren the com­pany specif­i­cally uses olives with the high­est oleic acid con­tent since their con­sump­tion does not con­tribute harm­ful lev­els of bad’ cho­les­terol to an organ­ism. This is why it is rec­om­mended for chil­dren who will undoubt­edly have a high caloric intake due to their process of devel­op­ment.”

Infant cho­les­terol is a lead­ing ail­ment among devel­op­ing chil­dren as breast milk, the main source of energy dur­ing the first year of life is rich in cho­les­terol and sat­u­rated fat. Despite this, fats are extremely impor­tant to the devel­op­ment of infant chil­dren and are respon­si­ble for the growth of bones, the brain, and the eyes. The oleic acid con­tent in Peque Oliva pre­vents cho­les­terol-based dis­eases by reduc­ing the lev­els of LDL or bad” cho­les­terol present in breast milk by replac­ing it with the HDL or good” cho­les­terol con­tained in extra vir­gin olive oil. According to var­i­ous researchers, extra vir­gin olive oil has shown to be an excel­lent sub­sti­tute for the exist­ing fats in breast milk.

The select Peque Oliva olives which con­tain these high lev­els of oleic acid are then put through a supe­rior extrac­tion method includ­ing, an extra cold first press which guar­an­tees that the vit­a­mins and polyphe­nol prop­er­ties of the olive are not lost.” These pre­cious polyphe­nols and vit­a­mins A, D, E, and K found in Peque Oliva have been shown to reduce the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and cer­tain types of can­cer while main­tain­ing a bal­ance in the immune sys­tems of devel­op­ing chil­dren.

Everything about the prod­uct seems to revolve around the child, although Peque Oliva olive oil may be con­sumed by any­one older than 6 months of age. The oil is bot­tled in a col­or­ful, tin con­tainer that pro­tects a child from pos­si­ble glass injuries while simul­ta­ne­ously pro­tect­ing the oil from adul­ter­at­ing fac­tors like heat and light. Furthermore, the com­pany Peque Oliva web­site explains how to con­vert the non-break olive oil cans into a child’s noise-mak­ing toy once empty and also sug­gests a num­ber of nutri­tional recipes that specif­i­cally uti­lize Peque Oliva oil.

In terms of inter­na­tional mar­ket­ing, Peque Oliva has already had suc­cess and sig­nif­i­cant expo­sure to a steadily emerg­ing Asian mar­ket after win­ning two awards from this year’s International Food and Beverage Exhibition in China. Peque Oliva was a win­ner of this year’s Trends & Innovations” con­test, cho­sen among more than 1,300 exhibitors hail­ing from 76 coun­tries. The brand con­tin­ues to expand its inter­na­tional con­sumer base and is now avail­able for pur­chase in England, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Spain and the United States.

Fernández con­firmed that the pub­lic response to Peque Oliva has been an over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive one and that the med­ical com­mu­nity has also fully sup­ported the dis­tri­b­u­tion of Peque Oliva: Pediatricians, who are cer­ti­fied health pro­fes­sion­als and under­stand the tech­ni­cal­i­ties behind the prod­uct, are accept­ing it extra­or­di­nar­ily well and are our biggest pre­scrip­tions. Although all new prod­ucts gen­er­ate some con­cerns, it is our job now to clear up any ques­tions that might exist and explain that our prod­uct is exactly what it says it is.”

And per­haps this will be Peque Oliva’s biggest chal­lenge – con­vinc­ing con­sumers to shell out money for a high-end prod­uct dur­ing a time when Spanish olive oil prices have reached all-time lows due to a world­wide pric­ing cri­sis. With com­pe­ti­tion grow­ing steadily as newly emerg­ing pro­ducer coun­tries begin to carve their stake into the world­wide olive oil sec­tor, this may prove to be par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult. A brief sur­vey of online dis­trib­u­tors quotes Peque Oliva’s 250 mL con­tainer of extra vir­gin olive oil as sell­ing between $9 and $16 depend­ing on where it is pur­chased.

Yet the man­ag­ing direc­tor of the so-called, world’s first olive oil for chil­dren” explains that the inher­ent added value of Peque Oliva is unde­ni­ably worth the extra cash: The drop in the price of olive oil leads to, accord­ing to my under­stand­ing, a drop in the qual­ity of the olive oil and our aim is not to do some­thing cheap or infe­rior. We are here to offer a prod­uct which is both healthy and deli­cious at the same time.”

Mr. Fernández urges us to remem­ber that with olive oil, per­haps more than any other food prod­uct, you get what you pay for.

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