Andalusian Cooperative Crafts Award-Winning Olive Oil With Soul

Almazaras de la Subbética earned four awards at the 2021 NYIOOC, attributing their success to the terroir and climate.

Photo: Almazaras de la Subbética
Jun. 10, 2021
By Jasmina Nevada
Photo: Almazaras de la Subbética

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Almazaras de la Subbética was formed by the merger of two coop­er­a­tives in 2007: S.C.A. Virgen del Castillo and S.C.A. Olivarera Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno.

It is now one of the largest coop­er­a­tives in Spain with more than 8,000 mem­bers and has a strong rep­u­ta­tion for its qual­ity, inno­va­tion, respect for the envi­ron­ment and social respon­si­bil­i­ties.

Behind each of our bot­tles of extra vir­gin olive oil, there are hun­dreds of fam­i­lies whose effort, sweat, con­cern, love and pas­sion for the cul­ti­va­tion of our lands are part of the process to obtain the best extra vir­gin olive oil.- José Antonio Nieto, com­mer­cial direc­tor, Almazaras de la Subbética

The coop­er­a­tive is located in the heart of Andalusias Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park, which is char­ac­ter­ized by rugged moun­tain­ous ter­rain and an envi­able micro­cli­mate with more than 2,800 hours of sun­shine per annum.

We visu­al­ize a tsunami of olives, some cen­te­nar­i­ans that trea­sure the pres­ti­gious oils whose qual­ity and pres­tige dates back from the Roman Empire to the present day,” José Antonio Nieto, the cooperative’s com­mer­cial direc­tor, told Olive Oil Times.

See Also: Producer Profiles

Clay soils with a high cal­cium con­tent, moun­tain olive groves with slopes of up to 70 per­cent and a con­ti­nen­tal Mediterranean cli­mate with high rain­fall and dis­tinct tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions cre­ate the ideal envi­ron­ment for grow­ing the best olives,” he added.

Carefully car­ing for their olive trees in this ter­roir has paid off. The coop­er­a­tive earned three Gold Awards and a Silver Award at the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, its sixth straight suc­cess­ful year at the com­pe­ti­tion.

Almazaras de la Subbética earned the three Gold Awards for its Rincon de la Subbética brand, an organic Hojiblanca, its Parqueoliva Serie Oro brand, a blend of Picuda and Hojiblanca olives, and its Almaoliva Arbequina brand.

The coop­er­a­tive won the Silver Award for its Almaoliva Bio brand, a blend of Picuda, Picual and Hojiblanca olives.

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We’re very happy. It is always an honor to get awards and even more so when all the sam­ples sent obtain them,” María Carmen Rodríguez Comino, a mem­ber of the cooperative’s sales depart­ment, told Olive Oil Times.

International recog­ni­tions always have a pos­i­tive impact on the brand,” she added. They help it to be known through­out the world, and many cus­tomers call inter­ested in it. They always improve sales.”

Aside from craft­ing award-win­ning olive oils, one of the main focuses of the coop­er­a­tive is to cap­ture the entire process of what it takes to pro­duce a sin­gle bot­tle of their extra vir­gin olive oil.

Behind each of our bot­tles of extra vir­gin olive oil, there are hun­dreds of fam­i­lies whose effort, sweat, con­cern, love and pas­sion for the cul­ti­va­tion of our lands are part of the process to obtain the best extra vir­gin olive oil,” Nieto said.

See Also: The Best Olive Oils from Spain

The cooperative’s Bottles with Soul (Botellas con Alma) ini­tia­tive encom­passes the essen­tial ele­ments of the fam­ily, the olive grove and oil.

The Bottles with Soul ini­tia­tive arose from the impor­tance of the social respon­si­bil­ity of the com­pany with its part­ners, who are aware of ill­ness in their loved ones their chil­dren,” Nieto said.

Unique bot­tles of olive oil are cre­ated with chil­dren from schools in the region. They were asked to cap­ture their feel­ings in a draw­ing, con­sid­er­ing the olive oil and its mean­ing to them and their fam­i­lies.

The labels on the bot­tles con­tain draw­ings designed by the chil­dren, which are then wrapped around the olive oil bot­tles. The sig­nif­i­cance of this is two-fold with the label designed by a child and an envi­ron­men­tal com­po­nent also, as the bot­tles are not tinted and are re-usable.

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The card­board used for the labels com­plies with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) reg­u­la­tions, so the trees used to make this paper com­ply with envi­ron­men­tal rules. For each bot­tle sold, a €2.00 dona­tion is made for child­hood leukemia research.

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This past year, Almanzaras de la Subbética had to adapt and look for meth­ods to sur­pass the chal­lenges that the Covid-19 pan­demic pre­sented, refor­mu­lat­ing their busi­ness model to suit.

From a sales point of view, there was an increase in demand for con­sump­tion of olive oil and stock­pil­ing of prod­ucts for a phe­nom­e­nal increase in sales, as of course more peo­ple were cook­ing at home and spend­ing a lot of time doing so,” Nieto said.

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We had to re-invent our­selves and launch new sin­gle-dose for­mats for when bars and restau­rants re-opened again,” he added. This was a shift in demand for cer­tain for­mats.”

The impact of the Covid-19 pan­demic had neg­a­tive cost impli­ca­tions for the coop­er­a­tive too. From extra hygiene and safety mea­sures to tele­work­ing, the coop­er­a­tive had to restruc­ture to face the main chal­lenges of the pan­demic – slow­ing the rate of infec­tion.

There also was a loss in rev­enue due to the clo­sure of the hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try, and all national and inter­na­tional food and olive oil fairs were can­celed, which was a great way to meet new cus­tomers.

Despite this, we have been able to con­tinue in con­tact with clients through telem­atic means,” Rodríguez Comino said.


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