`NYIOOC Conference Opens with Barjol, Ravetti - Olive Oil Times

NYIOOC Conference Opens with Barjol, Ravetti

Apr. 9, 2014
Michael Goodwin

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The sem­i­nars of the sec­ond annual New York International Olive Oil Competition began today, with speak­ers address­ing a full house at The International Culinary Center.

The NYIOOC pres­i­dent and event orga­nizer, Curtis Cord, opened the pro­ceed­ings wel­com­ing guests from as far as Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Sweden, Slovenia, and Japan” to the pre­mier event, the largest and most impor­tant olive oil com­pe­ti­tion in the world.” Greeting the wide vari­ety of par­tic­i­pants, from estate pro­duc­ers to global oil importers and dis­trib­u­tors, Cord stated that it is one thing to make a great olive oil — and it is another thing to sell it.” There is lit­tle rela­tion between the qual­ity of an olive oil and its value in today’s mar­ket­place, said Cord. Thursday’s press con­fer­ence here will unveil the best olive oils, but today we need to explore inno­v­a­tive ways to get those olive oils into kitchens around the world.” Thus began a day of pre­sen­ters arranged, Cord said, to com­plete the cir­cle and empower pro­duc­ers and providers of excel­lence to suc­ceed and give all of us bet­ter choices where we live — to improve the foods we eat and make our diets more health­ful.”

Dorothy Cann Hamilton, the founder of The International Culinary Center, wel­comed con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants and praised Cord and last year’s event also held here. What hap­pened here last year was mag­i­cal, tran­scen­den­tal,” Hamilton declared. Stressing the impor­tance of olive oil as an elixir” of great his­tor­i­cal mag­ni­tude, Hamilton declared olive oil a healthy food of the future; true liq­uid gold.”

Hamilton’s spoke about the impor­tance of global coop­er­a­tion nec­es­sary to edu­ca­tion the pub­lic on the val­ues and ben­e­fits of olive oil. This was fol­lowed by a talk by the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the International Olive Council, Jean-Louis Barjol.

Jean-Louis Barjol

Barjol detailed the his­tory of the International Olive Council (IOC), begin­ning with its incep­tion under the aus­pices of the United Nations, via treaty in Geneva in 1959. Since then, the treaty has been rene­go­ti­ated five times, and this will occur once more at the end of this year. Though the IOC, with 17 mem­ber states, rep­re­sents 97 per­cent of global olive oil pro­duc­tion, this rep­re­sents only 77 per­cent of world con­sump­tion. Barjol stressed fur­ther weak­ness in the effi­cacy of IOC stan­dards by draw­ing atten­tion to the fact that the US is not a mem­ber.

The mas­sive share of the US import mar­ket for oil, along with the rapidly grow­ing mar­kets of Brazil and China, mean that IOC mem­bers only account for 15 per­cent of world imports. While mem­ber states have an oblig­a­tion to enforce IOC stan­dards, non-pro­duc­ing nations have no duty to ensure IOC cri­te­ria for label­ing or qual­ity assur­ance. Barjol high­lighted the chal­lenges in a mar­ket with chang­ing global demand, specif­i­cally from non-pro­duc­ing coun­tries. In the past 23 years, olive oil has become a com­pletely glob­al­ized prod­uct,” he said, but the US is still the engine of the sys­tem, the cru­cial mar­ket.” Barjol detailed the Council’s efforts to influ­ence con­sumers, opin­ion lead­ers, and leg­is­la­tors, and the goal of adding global value to the food­stuff through mar­ket research and pro­mo­tional cam­paigns.

The next seg­ment was led by Leandro Ravetti, the tech­ni­cal direc­tor of Boundary Bend Olives, Australia’s first com­pletely ver­ti­cally-inte­grated com­pany. Ravetti is no stranger to the NYIOOC. Having over­seen the pro­duc­tion of award-win­ning oils for the company’s flag­ship brand, Cobram Estate, he took home four gold medals and two best-in-class tro­phies at last year’s com­pe­ti­tion.

Leandro Ravetti

Ravetti explained his company’s moti­va­tion to pro­duce every­day oils, at com­pet­i­tive prices, that rival bou­tique oils on a qual­ity level.” The pio­neer of print­ing har­vest date labels in the Australian mar­ket, Ravetti has qual­ity con­trol as his mis­sion, not only until pack­ag­ing, but all the way until the bot­tle is opened.” His sem­i­nar focused on the con­nec­tion between prod­uct pack­ag­ing and oil qual­ity, and he imparted advanced sci­en­tific knowl­edge on the plethora of pack­ag­ing options avail­able to pro­duc­ers.

Ravetti’s talk was fol­lowed by a pre­sen­ta­tion by author, edi­tor, and brand­ing expert Debbie Millman, pres­i­dent of the design divi­sion at Sterling Brands, and pres­i­dent emer­i­tus of AIGA, the pro­fes­sional asso­ci­a­tion for design. As the judge of this year’s pack­age design com­pe­ti­tion, Millman gave atten­dees a panoramic his­tory of global brand­ing and brand strat­egy.

Debbie Millman

As the taste pan­elists from eight coun­tries con­tinue to sam­ple the nearly 700 olive oils entered in this year’s com­pe­ti­tion, con­fer­ence atten­dees will hear from more experts, edu­ca­tors, and mer­chants until the win­ners are announced Thursday evening.


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