In a bid to promote Mediterranean olive oil to French households, a bespoke ‘olive oil’ van has spent the previous month snaking across France.

From Paris to Lille, Quimper to Angers, the van offered shoppers at supermarkets, outdoor markets and shopping malls the opportunity to taste a variety of olive oils hailing from the Mediterranean basin

The Interprofessional Olive Oil from Spain, the Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM) and the European Commission have invested 16.5 million euros, with the aim of increasing sales and consumption of olive oil in Europe. The campaign will have a duration of three years, from September 2009 to October 2012, and will appear in France, the UK, Belgium, Holland and Spain.

in-france-a-van-runs-on-olive-oil-and-eur165-millionIn France, the promotion ran from 18 May to 12 June and saw a French chef cooking up a variety of recipes based on olive oil for the benefit of the shoppers.

After tasting the various olive oil dishes, the French shoppers were given promotional material including pencils, bottle stoppers and anti-stress balls.

“The objective of this road show is to get closer to the public and to introduce them to the many different varieties of olive oil that exist, as well as the oils’ nutritional and taste properties,” said the organisers.

In addition to the road show, the campaign organisers have distributed nationwide promotional flyers in order to attract the “maximum number of people” to their olive oil contest.

The quiz on olive oil has been set up on the promotional website . Winners of the quiz will gain a trip for two people to southern Spain or Catalonia.

The road show builds on the growing popularity of olive oil in French kitchens.  According to Afidol – the interprofessional association for France stakeholders in olive oil – French consumption of extra virgin olive oil alone has “exploded” in the past twenty years from 23 000 tonnes to 100 000 tonnes with 65 per cent of households now stocking a bottle in their cupboards.

Olive oil consumption now falls a close second in terms of consumption behind sunflower oil, the country’s top cooking oil.

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