The Director General of Innovation and Competitiveness of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Maria Luisa Poncela Garcia (second from left), accompanied by President of CITOLIVA, José Juan Gaforio, inaugurated the new Cookibg Lab at the Science and Technology Park Geolit ​​(Mengíbar, Jaén)

In a bid to further increase innovation and knowledge in the area of olive oil, Andalusian olive oil and technological center, CITOLIVA, has opened the first cooking facility in Spain solely dedicated to olive oil.

The ‘Cooking Lab’ was officially opened on the 8th of March in the Geolit Science and Technology Park in Jaén , Spain, by CITOLIVA President José Juan Gaforio and director of innovation and competition at the Ministry of Economy and Competition, Mª Luisa García Poncela.

The purpose of the experimental kitchen is to develop and create healthy products made with olive oil or its health-giving components. It will not only offer a service based on experimentation and development of new olive oil products but also produce recipes that form a part of the traditional Mediterranean diet while maintaining the original nutritional properties and flavors of the oil.

Gaforio said that the new facility is “a laboratory of ideas, wills and technological development” and described it as an area of “co-creation” representing the meeting point between science, technology and gastronomy with olive oil as the star.

José Juan Gaforio

The kitchen will initiate projects that lead to economic growth and sustainable development by providing technological solutions to small and medium businesses in the agricultural food industry. In the current poor economic climate of Spain, it is hoped that the Cooking Lab will provide significant support for the economy of Jaén and Andalusia, as well as guidance towards innovation and technological advances in the sector.

The kitchen aims to promote cooperation between companies and bring enterprises closer to research institutions, in order to generate more knowledge and more innovative products. Mª Luisa García Poncela, who unveiled the plaque at the inauguration of the kitchen, pointed out that adding value to traditional products such as olive oil would help to differentiate Spanish products and services from the competition.

The University of Jaén also supported the project, reiterating its commitment to CITOLIVA, with Dean Manuel Parras Rosa insisting that the growth of the olive sector relies mainly on research, innovation and the sharing of knowledge.

CITOLIVA has developed strong knowledge base on the physical and chemical nutritional characteristics of olive oil, as well as the behavior of valuable components of oils in the body. It has been recognized as a leading contributor to the increase in innovation and development in Andalucía.

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