L’association Française L’Olive, (AFIDOL) France’s interprofessional association, held their annual summer meeting in Aix en Provence.
Since its foundation in 1999, Afidol has sought to unite olive oil professionals, to improve and develop production and the marketing of French olive oil and olives.
In his speech to the general assembly, Oliver Nasles, president of Afidol, analyzed the current condition of the industry and presented measures which the private organization could adopt to better the situation.
Nasles told the assembly that the French olive oil industry lost more than 30 million euros, money lost by growers and mill owners who, in 2014, not only had a limited amount of oil to process but very little oil to sell.
“We have all lost, the olive growers, the mill owners and the marketing agents,” said a disappointed Nasles.
Today, Afidol represents 35,000 olive growers and 265 mill owners who turn to the organization for help in grove management, health and safety practices and commercial projects. Members can assist at conferences and be trained on analysis and interpretation of olives and olive oil.
Production figures for 2014
It was not a brilliant year for France with only around 5,000 tons of olive oil produced. Table olive production showed similar negative results: a total yield of 1,200 tons which was 230 tons less than in 2013.
Recognizing the need for effective communication, Afidol has a new website to promote olives and olive oil from the south of France. Practical advice on the site includes:
- Discovering olive oil mills, producers and museums in the olive oil regions
- Information on olive oil and the Mediterranean diet
- A restaurant guide – gourmet restaurants that highlight olive oil from the South of France.
- 113 tried and tested recipes incorporating olives and olive oil.
Incorporated with Facebook, the site boasts 8,000 fans.
The campaign for better-informing consumers on the origin and diversity of French olive oil continues in the south of France. Provençal markets are ideal season for experts and producers to generate public awareness on the importance of traceability, terroir and the diversity of French olive oil.
Twelve presentations in popular touristic areas were organized last summer to address questions on guaranteeing the origin, the differences between the AOC (controlled designation of origin) and PDO (protected designation of origin), and the significance of “EU” on the label.
Olive Oil millers and producers striving for excellence take part in regional and national competitions for olive oil and table olives organized by Afidol.
Promoting Provençal olive oils in the U.K.
The first olive oil trade marketing campaign aimed at British retailers and chefs was held in London at Le Cigalon, the French restaurant. At the tasting event held last year, distributors, food writers and chefs were presented with five premier olive oil brands from Provence including Moulin Castelas (Baux de Provence), Moulin Cornille (Baux de Provence), La Maison Codefa (Marseille), La Lieutenante (Baux de Provence) and Vignolis(Nyons).
The French consumed 108,000 tons of olive oil last year. Sunflower is the most consumed oil in France.