Even as the first olives from the new 2016/2017 harvest are being crushed into oil, producers around the world are entering their brands in the 2017 New York International Olive Oil Competition at the fastest rate in the five-year history of the contest.
The 2017 NYIOOC will be held April 24-27 — a few weeks later in the season than past editions, allowing more Southern Hemisphere brands to participate, organizers said.
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While there is concern about a lower overall production this year due to dry conditions in Spain and widespread fruit-fly damage in Italy, many producers seem confident that the oil they ultimately produce will be good enough to contend on New York’s global stage.
More than 820 brands from 26 countries were judged in the 2016 edition of the world’s largest and most prestigious olive oil competition. The winners are presented on the website bestoliveoils.com — the second most-visited olive oil website in the world behind Olive Oil Times — and nearly 100 winning brands are available for sale on the Best Olive Oils Marketplace directly from the importers and merchants who stock them.
Importers, distributors, retailers and restaurants use the Best Olive Oils index as a buying guide to the world’s best olive oils. Winning producers have reported that their awards have opened doors with key customers and new markets.
Curtis Cord, the NYIOOC president, said several initiatives will add even more value to winning in 2017, including the development of new ways for buyers to validate an oil before purchasing. “We’re building on the success of the Best Olive Oils Guide by adding a native app that will allow a buyer to scan any bottle with a phone to see if it is a winning oil,” he said. “Beyond that, we will present tasting notes, food pairing suggestions, information about the olive cultivars used and the region where the oil was produced, right there quickly and conveniently on the mobile device where the buyer needs it.”
At the same time, Cord said, his team will soon be rolling out a messaging network within the NYIOOC Producer Tools platform that will facilitate exchanges between buyers and the winning producers to encourage wholesale trade opportunities. “We are committed to making it as easy as possible for distributors and buyers to stock the best olive oils, and one of the ways we can do that is through messaging. Buyers will be able to filter winning brands by the award they achieved, stock location, and ex-works price ranges to initiate contact with producers who match their criteria with one click.”
Development will also continue on the innovative olive oil and food pairing app, which has been used by more than 150,000 people since it was introduced earlier this year to find the best olive oil to use for a certain dish. In addition to identifying the best oil to use for broiled cod, for example, the app will be expanded to include regional dishes such as Ribollita, a Tuscan stew, to pinpoint an oil from the same region and maintain the cultural integrity of the dish.
And finally, the various solutions for producers, merchants and consumers will be more tightly woven into the interface of Olive Oil Times in a redesign to be launched next summer. “Rather than relying merely on banner ad positions to direct users to the components available on our broader platform, we are working on integrating them more fluidly within a portal redesign to leverage the world’s #1 olive oil website, and improve the experience for our readers who are seeking answers to their growing concerns over olive oil quality,” Cord said.
Olive oil producers and brand managers can register for the 2017 NYIOOC on the competition website.