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Chilean Guidebook Seeks to Promote Local Producers and Consumption

Guía Oliva 2019 will rate and describe extra virgin olive oils sold in Chile. The authors intend to educate consumers about what is going on in the Chilean olive oil world.

Carola Dümmer Medina and Alicia Moya Valenzuela
Jul. 11, 2019
By Daniel Dawson
Carola Dümmer Medina and Alicia Moya Valenzuela

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Guía Oliva 2019, a new guide­book for the best Chilean extra virgin olive oils, is set to be pub­lished October 1.

The book will fea­ture detailed infor­ma­tion about a number of local and imported oils, includ­ing a score from 65 to 100 points, a brief review of the oil, usage rec­om­men­da­tions, pro­duc­ers’ con­tact infor­ma­tion as well as where to buy the olive oil.

It’s going to be a book that exhibits what is hap­pen­ing with olive oil in Chile.- Carola Dümmer Medina, co-author of Guía Oliva 2019

“It’s a project that we’ve been talk­ing about for many years,” Carola Dümmer Medina, an olive oil jour­nal­ist and judge at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, told Olive Oil Times. “The indus­try is strong and we think the con­sumers need a tool like this to under­stand a little bit more about olive oil.”

Dümmer Medina and Alicia Moya Valenzuela, an agro­nomic engi­neer at Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso and also a judge at the NYIOOC, are writ­ing the guide to help edu­cate con­sumers not only about the extra virgin olive oils avail­able in Chile, but also how to use them in the kitchen.

See more: Olive Oil Books

“Consumers in Chile know very little about olive oil,” Dümmer Medina said. “They do not know many brands of olive oil, just the largest ones sold in the super­mar­ket. This will be very edu­ca­tional for them to under­stand what they can do with this spe­cific oil.”

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In spite of having pro­duced 20,000 tons of olive oil in the 2018/19 cam­paign – of which an esti­mated 90 per­cent is graded as extra virgin – oil con­sump­tion in the Western Hemisphere’s second largest pro­duc­ing coun­try is just 750 mil­li­liters per capita per year.

Dümmer Medina and Moya Valenzuela believe that pub­lish­ing the guide will help increase olive oil con­sump­tion, in part, by high­light­ing the oils of small-scale pro­duc­ers, which may not be sold out­side of the town in which they are pro­duced.

“I think for the small pro­duc­ers, it is a big oppor­tu­nity because they do not have much vis­i­bil­ity here on a national level,” Dümmer Medina said. “Now they will have access to a bigger group of con­sumers that are will­ing to try dif­fer­ent brands of olive oil, so it is going to be a big oppor­tu­nity.”

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Larger pro­duc­ers are also likely to ben­e­fit from the guide, the two authors con­tend, as it will also pro­vide them with an oppor­tu­nity to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from the com­pe­ti­tion.

“There are lots of guides in the world and people are always look­ing at guides to see which ones are the best-ranked oils,” Dümmer Medina said. “For me, the more infor­ma­tion avail­able about the com­pa­nies is better. It’s not like you buy oils solely because the guide said it’s the best one.”

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“We will try to make it very inter­est­ing for con­sumers to read, giving them some his­tory about the com­pa­nies,” she added.

For the guide’s first edi­tion, which will be pub­lished in English and Spanish, pro­duc­ers can reg­is­ter their olive oils on the book’s web­site before send­ing a sample of their extra virgin olive oils to Dümmer Medina and Moya Valenzuela to be tasted and ranked. The only restric­tion on entries is that the oils must be sold in Chile or on Easter Island.

The guide will divide the extra virgin olive oils into six dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. Three of these will be for Chilean olive oils based on the size of the pro­ducer, one will be for for­eign olive oils that are sold in Chile and the final two will be for flavor-infused olive oils, which are becom­ing increas­ingly pop­u­lar in the coun­try.

“It’s going to be a book that exhibits what is hap­pen­ing with olive oil in Chile,” Dümmer Medina said. “It’s a big oppor­tu­nity to make people more con­scious about the ben­e­fits of olive oil and to help them choose the best olive oils to buy in the super­mar­ket.”