First-Time Winners Reflect on World Competition Victories

Producers from around the world said their NYIOOC awards were lifting sales and customer trust.

Photo: Mas Des Bories
Aug. 10, 2022
By Lisa Anderson
Photo: Mas Des Bories

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Part of our con­tin­u­ing spe­cial cov­er­age of the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.


Hundreds of farm­ers and pro­duc­ers have been cel­e­brat­ing their first-ever awards at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.

In the 2022 edi­tion of the world’s largest olive oil qual­ity com­pe­ti­tion, 223 pro­duc­ers received an award in their first time enter­ing the con­test, well above the rolling five-year aver­age of 204 debut win­ners.

We have had some of our best sales weeks ever since win­ning Gold at the NYIOOC.- Tim Dugan, Cockatoo Grove

First-time win­ners told Olive Oil Times that receiv­ing awards at the com­pe­ti­tion had already improved their brand’s cred­i­bil­ity and boosted the sales of their extra vir­gin olive oils.

See Also:The Best Olive Oils Marketplace

We have had some of our best sales weeks ever since win­ning Gold at the NYIOOC,” said Tim Dugan, the man­ag­ing direc­tor of Cockatoo Grove, an Australian pro­ducer from Victoria who won two Gold Awards for a pair of organic medium blends.

We have had strong inter­est from a num­ber of large retail­ers who have con­grat­u­lated us on the win,” he added. It has been pow­er­ful to have an affir­ma­tion like this.”

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The team at Cockatoo Grove

Dugan said he decided to enter the NYIOOC for pro­fes­sional feed­back on his oils and to see how they com­pared with the best in the world.

Any suc­cess we had would be a tes­ta­ment to the hard work and expe­ri­ence of our grove team and would raise the pro­file of our brand amongst con­sumers and retail­ers,” he said.

At times, you can either be biased or too crit­i­cal of your own oil,” Dugan added. It was a very proud moment and a real thrill to hear we had been awarded Gold with both oils we entered.”

Cockatoo Grove was one of six pro­duc­ers from Australia who com­bined to win 13 awards at the NYIOOC.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific Ocean, the owner of Luretík from the Santa Ynez Valley in Central California scooped up a Silver Award. Elise Magistro said the impact on her brand has been notice­able since win­ning the award for her Sicily brand.

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Elise Magistro

It has helped us estab­lish cred­i­bil­ity and enhanced our rep­u­ta­tion as a California pro­ducer of high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil,” she said. We entered the NYIOOC to see how our organic extra vir­gin olive oil mea­sured up against the best European olive oils and to ele­vate the pro­file of California extra vir­gin olive oil.”

For Magistro, sup­port­ing locally-pro­duced olive oil is espe­cially impor­tant in the United States, given the vast quan­ti­ties Americans con­sume – an aver­age of 370,000 tons per annum, accord­ing to the International Olive Council, a fig­ure esti­mated to reach 401,000 tons in the cur­rent crop year.

She argues that sourc­ing olive oil domes­ti­cally sup­ports California’s econ­omy and helps reduce a consumer’s car­bon foot­print.

The award was unex­pected, and the feel­ing is won­der­ful,” Magistro added, describ­ing how it felt when she learned about the awards for Luretik’s organic medium blend of Nocellara del Belice and Cerasuola olives.

Winning a Silver Award in New York val­i­dated our efforts and strength­ened our resolve to improve our prod­uct and our cus­tomers’ expe­ri­ence,” she said.

Magistro added that although hot spring winds dimin­ished their 2021 har­vest, they were pleased with the high qual­ity of their award-win­ning oil.

Given all that Mother Nature can inflict on farm­ers, we were more than sat­is­fied with the year’s har­vest,” she said.

On the other side of the Americas, MF Agropastoril cel­e­brated a year of firsts on the back of a record year for Brazilian pro­duc­ers.

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Harvesting olives in Rio Grqande do Sul at MF Agropastoril’s estate

The Rio Grande do Sol-based pro­ducer was awarded for the first time at the com­pe­ti­tion for oils pro­duced dur­ing its first com­mer­cial har­vest, earn­ing two Gold Awards for its Pedregais brand.

Co-owner Flavo Fernandes said the awards were help­ing his fledg­ling brand stand out from the com­pe­ti­tion and help­ing increase brand aware­ness among Brazilian con­sumers.

Everyone rec­og­nizes that hav­ing two olive oils awarded at the NYIOOC dur­ing their first par­tic­i­pa­tion shows ded­i­ca­tion in all stages of the process,” he said, from the man­age­ment of the plants, han­dling of fruits, man­ual har­vest and extrac­tion of the oil.”

Fernandes added that the com­pany decided to enter the NYIOOC due to its rep­u­ta­tion. It was like say­ing: We have excel­lent olive oil; why not con­firm that with a prize in an excel­lent con­test,” he explained.

News of the company’s suc­cess in June came as a wel­come relief after what Fernandes said was a rel­a­tively stress­ful process of first, mak­ing sure the olive oils had arrived safely in New York and then wait­ing, daily, for a pos­si­ble award, with­out any cer­tainty.”

Finally, a wave of relief and hap­pi­ness came for Fernandes and his fam­ily when the result was announced.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, Claire de Fina Coutin, the owner of Mas des Bories from south­east­ern France, said the Gold Award her team received for their medium blend at the 2022 NYIOOC made them happy and proud.

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Adding the NYIOOC award sticker to her bottles increases Claire de Fina Coutin’s credibility with her customers.

This award has also given us new energy to con­tinue, and it has improved our cred­i­bil­ity with our cus­tomers,” she said.

Since their tri­umphs were announced in May, De Fina Coutin has noticed a strength­ened trust in the brand among exist­ing cus­tomers.

She said Mas des Bories entered the World Competition because they wanted the chal­lenge of com­pet­ing pro­fes­sion­ally at an inter­na­tional level.

A sec­ond rea­son is related to the United States mar­ket, where our Mas des Bories oil has been present for sev­eral years,” she said. The U.S. is one of my pri­or­ity mar­kets, so it also seemed impor­tant to me to be a part of this com­pe­ti­tion.”

De Fina Coutin said the pre­vi­ous har­vest was slightly dis­ap­point­ing in vol­ume com­pared to their expec­ta­tions. But the drop in pro­duc­tion in 2021 was com­pen­sated by slightly above-aver­age oil yields and very high oil qual­ity,” she said.

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The olive groves of Mercorural

Further south­west, in Portugal’s north­ern Trás-os-Montes region, Eduardo Casas cel­e­brated win­ning a Gold Award for a medium organic blend.

The mar­ket­ing man­ager of Mercorural said win­ning the cov­eted award, which they received with immense joy and pride,” has now given them another tool with which to pro­mote their brand.

All of our bot­tles are deliv­ered to cus­tomers with the award label,” he said.

Casas first learned about the com­pe­ti­tion after doing research online. He added that Mercorural pro­duced its award-win­ning oil after a har­vest he described as a suc­cess in terms of qual­ity and quan­tity.

We chose the right moment to start the har­vest and assure that dur­ing that time, all pro­ce­dures and logis­tics are set­tled,” he con­cluded.


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