`Boundary Bend, Australia’s Innovative Olive Oil Leader

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Boundary Bend, Australia’s Innovative Olive Oil Leader

Dec. 31, 2010
Penelope Barker

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In just over ten years, co-founders Rob McGavin and Paul Rior­dan and their team at Bound­ary Bend Lim­ited have cre­ated Australia’s largest olive oil com­pany. But jeez we’ve had some dif­fi­cul­ties,” says Mr McGavin. It is just tough. And I would say 95 per­cent of peo­ple who go out and plant an olive grove – even if they’re in the indus­try – really strug­gle, because it is very, very dif­fi­cult to make them con­sis­tently pro­duce – to get your pol­li­na­tion right, nutri­tion, water, pro­cess­ing, logis­tics right – so that you’ve got an excel­lent qual­ity EVOO out the other side at a com­pet­i­tive price.”

Olive oil expert Dr. Richard Gawel is ful­some in his praise for Bound­ary Bend’s efforts and sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the indus­try as a whole. They are a truly ver­ti­cally inte­grated com­pany – from nurs­ery to mar­ket­ing,” says Dr. Gawel. They con­tribute a sig­nif­i­cant amount to research knowl­edge on olive oil, and a lot of their out­comes are pub­licly avail­able and rel­e­vant to pro­duc­ers both within Aus­tralia and else­where. They have con­ducted research on a diverse range of top­ics such as fruit loos­en­ing agents, frost dam­age, mechan­i­cal har­vest­ing and pro­cess­ing aids to name just a few and their lab­o­ra­tory has also worked on ver­i­fy­ing the valid­ity of new tests that help iden­tify what I con­sider to be the scourge of the indus­try: the pres­ence of old oil in blends. Most impor­tantly, through their Cobram Estate brand, they have been instru­men­tal in putting afford­able, high qual­ity EVOO on Aus­tralian super­mar­ket shelves.”

Dr. Gawel also points out that the company’s tech­ni­cal experts, Lean­dro Ravetti and Pablo Cana­masas, are active in dis­sem­i­nat­ing their results to the indus­try and con­tribute their time to other indus­try issues such as devel­op­ing mod­ern, rel­e­vant stan­dards to help con­sumers bet­ter under­stand the dif­fer­ence between the olive oil grades.

From the mar­ket­ing side,” adds Dr. Gawel, Bound­ary Bend have been active in work­ing on cre­at­ing and pro­mot­ing two lev­els of EVOO – a super­mar­ket line and vari­etal based spe­cialty line, and they have become per­haps the most imme­di­ately rec­og­nized EVOO brand in Aus­tralia. As a com­pany, they have been long time sup­port­ers of the Aus­tralian Olive Asso­ci­a­tion, both in pro­vid­ing
exper­tise and sup­port­ing research.”

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Today, Bound­ary Bend Lim­ited oper­ates over $AU250 mil­lion (USD 254 mil­lion) in olive assets and, with 2.5 mil­lion olive trees under its con­trol, is the largest owner/manager of olive groves in Aus­tralia and one of the largest in the world.

For the past six sea­sons, BBL has been lead­ing the dynamic and emerg­ing olive oil indus­try in Aus­tralia. The com­pany has been the first and only grower in Aus­tralia to pro­duce and process more than 40,000 tons of fruit in one sea­son. And with less than 18 per­cent of all olive trees planted in Aus­tralia, BBL groves have pro­duced approx­i­mately half of Australia’s olive oil over the past four years.

Fruit pro­duc­tion achieved by BBL is sig­nif­i­cantly higher than the world and Aus­tralian aver­ages. Aver­age oil yields per hectare are sev­eral times (370 per­cent to 1,500 per­cent) higher than those from the tra­di­tional and major pro­duc­ing regions of Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Tunisia.

BBL’s state of the art pro­cess­ing plants in north­ern Vic­to­ria, with more than 1,700 tons per day capac­ity, are not only the largest pro­cess­ing plants in the South­ern Hemi­sphere but also the most effi­cient and qual­ity dri­ven,” says Exec­u­tive and Tech­ni­cal Direc­tor Lean­dro Ravetti. These pro­cess­ing plants are able to achieve not only the low­est pro­cess­ing costs in Aus­tralia, and com­pat­i­ble with the pro­cess­ing costs in any other area of the world, but also fea­ture some of the high­est extrac­tion effi­cien­cies, aver­ag­ing more than 89 per­cent extrac­tion effi­ciency over the past four sea­sons.”

In the past eight years, BBL has pro­duced increas­ing quan­ti­ties of olive oil while main­tain­ing extremely high qual­ity stan­dards. As tes­ta­ment to this, in the past two years alone BBL oils have won four Best in Show awards (includ­ing Best Oil in Aus­tralia in 2009), 22 Gold Medals, 41 Sil­ver Medals and 45 Bronze Medals, mak­ing them the most awarded oils in the Aus­tralian olive oil indus­try.

I think Aus­tralia is piv­otal to the future of the olive oil indus­try,” says Rob McGavin. There are going to be some pretty major advances in the South­ern Hemi­sphere in the next 10 years as far as our posi­tion in the world mar­ket.” With Bound­ary Bend’s ded­i­ca­tion to embrac­ing new tech­nolo­gies, chal­leng­ing con­ven­tion and exper­i­ment­ing with new ideas, the com­pany is sure to be instru­men­tal in these com­ing events.

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