By Daniel Williams
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona
The Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español (OIA), a non-profit organization designed to strengthen the position of Spanish olive oil in the global market, has just launched a diversified campaign to promote Spanish olive oil throughout Brazil. Marketing experts see this as a key strategic move to woo the consumer base of a country yet to be dominated by a single olive oil provider.
With the financial support from Spanish producers, packers, manufacturers and exporters, the OIA has devised a recipe contest based upon one of Spain’s most infamous literary gentlemen, Miguel Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha.
The contest, aptly titled, “The Culinary Adventures of Don Quixote”, is open to all Brazilians with the only requirement being that the recipe use a variety of Spanish olive oil as a primary ingredient. In addition to this, the contest also challenges famous restaurateurs to present their most ingenious menus using a combination of Brazilian ingredients and Spanish olive oil.
The idea behind the marketing campaign is to further introduce Spanish olive oil into the cuisine and diet of the world’s fifth largest country. The campaign has even extended into Brazilian supermarkets across the country. The Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español has stocked bottles of Spanish olive oil in supermarkets with an attached recipe for Bombocado, a traditional Brazilian dessert. The campaign has already created a buzz among consumers as it promises a tastier version of the dessert which also carries long-term health benefits.
The promotional campaigns do not seek immediate profit gains alone, but also aim to increase the public’s awareness of Spanish olive oil. Olive oils from Jaén, Spain which have been marketed in Brazilian supermarket brochures (Perez Arquero, Mueloliva and
La Massie) have reported seeing their sales jump 1000%. Whether this specific data can
be attributed to the recent marketing campaigns is unknown. Last year olive oil exports
from Spanish companies to Brazil rose 11%.
Spanish producers are hoping to dominate the market before Brazil is able to produce enough olive oil to supply the country on its own. Earlier this year, state-owned Empresa de Pesquisa Agropecuaria de Minas Gerais presented Brazil’s first extra virgin olive oil made from olives specifically adapted to the Brazilian climate. These producers, based in the municipality of Baependi, in the south of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, have planted 5,000 olive trees in an area of approximately 20 hectares and predict to produce a sufficient amount of olives to make olive oil within 5 years time.
Despite this, however, Brazil remains a major importer of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese olive oil. According to the International Olive Oil Council, Brazil imported some 47,610 tons of olive oil in 2009 alone.
With this in mind, the Spanish government has continued to pump money into marketing initiatives as Spanish olive oils continue to fight for dominance in emerging world markets. Earlier this month, the Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español received another 413,891 Euros to continue its promotional activities abroad.
 “Brasil, un mercado estratégico para el aceite de oliva español”
 “Brazil Adapts Olives for the Tropics”
 “Farmers in Minas, Brazil, Have Big Plan for Olive Oil Production”
 “Brasil: Olive Oil Imports” (PDF)
 “El FEGA publica las subvenciones concedidas con cargo a los fondos FEAGA-FEADER”