“The idea of this startup was born in Apulia, among its millennial olive trees which are authentic witnesses to Mediterranean history,” said Cosimo Damiano Guarini.
An agronomist, writer and founder of a new company, Olivhealth, Guarini explained that this project started from a study on the healthy aspects of extra virgin olive oil from ancient olive trees.
“With the goal to meet the standards established by the EU Regulation 432/2012, we wanted to enhance the contribution in terms of quality of monumental plants,” he explained.
“We developed a new way to take extra virgin olive oil with high health benefits through an innovative single-dose package dedicated particularly to sportspeople, pregnant women, and children, in order to provide the highest quality in the right amount.”
In 2014, Guarini published a book LovOlio, which covered nutraceutical aspects of extra virgin olive oil. “Presentations throughout Italy allowed me to understand that consumers were very interested in the healthy aspects of oil and needed more information,” he explained. “I figured I would create a high-quality product to better communicate with consumers.”
With help from a fund for startups in Apulia, Guarini was able to combine tradition with the latest technologies and affirm the healthy properties of a native variety of his territory —
the Ogliarola salentina in the ‘Plain of monumental olive trees’ in the area of Brindisi.
Cultivated at a farm under organic management for over 20 years, 455 secular olive trees are currently dedicated to this project. The olives are early harvested and processed within only 2 hours in a mill that is exclusively used for this production until it is completed.
By entering the batch number printed on the package you can track the olive trees that have been used to produce that specific lot. Through GPS, you can see the map of the land where they are grown and obtain images and detailed information.
“These monumental plants, appropriately managed under organic farming, gave 280 percent more vitamin E and 88 percent more of polyphenols compared to the minimum standards declared by the EU as regard to health claims for extra virgin olive oil,” Guarini observed.
The single-dose package was designed to provide the right amount of extra virgin olive oil at any time, while the patented closing system avoids accidental spillage, safeguarding it from light and oxygen.
The startup brought together a group of researchers and nutritionists under the project Olivhealth Research Academy (ORA), including scientific director Giuseppe Palma and experts in human nutrition, Claudio Pecorella and Domenico De Mattia. They are engaged in the study of the beneficial properties of extra virgin olive oil and in the valorization and identification of food values, with the aim of countering the advancement of junk food.
Olivhealth is also participating in the ‘NI – Nutrition Intelligence’ project, with La Sapienza University of Rome as a scientific partner, which provides the use of Olivhealth in maternity wards for pregnant women at Cristo Re hospital in Rome.
“I wanted to give value to our unique patrimony of olive trees and to our territory through the traceability from the plant to the box, while promoting the healthy properties of extra virgin olive oil through the path of Mediterranean diet,” Guarini concluded.