Africa / Middle East

Record Year for Turkish Olive Oils at World Competition

With 18 Golds and 10 Silvers, Turkish producers walked away with more awards at the world's most prestigious olive oil quality competition this year than ever before.

Gizem Çetintürk, co-owner of Eliada Gida Tarim Kozmetik Ithalat Ihracat.
May. 26, 2020
By Lisa Anderson
Gizem Çetintürk, co-owner of Eliada Gida Tarim Kozmetik Ithalat Ihracat.

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Turk­ish pro­duc­ers had their best year yet at the 2020 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion, earn­ing 28 awards.

Pro­duc­ers from the world’s fifth-largest olive oil pro­duc­ing coun­try won a record-high 18 Gold Awards – as many Turk­ish Golds as in the four pre­vi­ous con­tests com­bined – and 10 Sil­ver Awards.

It is an honor to be one of the many win­ning pro­duc­ers from Turkey, and we are excited to see the grow­ing recog­ni­tion of Turk­ish olive oil on the world stage.- Merve Doran, owner of Oleamea

The country’s two biggest win­ners, the Granpa and Mavras Zeyt­in­ci­lik brands, were among those that entered the com­pe­ti­tion for the first time.

See more: The Best Olive Oils From Turkey

Müge Aşkın is the sales man­ager of the Tokuç Group, which pro­duces Granpa olive oils. The Istan­bul-based com­pany earned two Gold Awards for medium Tri­lye oils and a Sil­ver for a del­i­cate Tri­lye.

Aşkın told Olive Oil Times that Granpa started pro­duc­ing olive oil in 2018, hav­ing saved olive trees from the country’s min­ing areas and moved them to their 17,000-tree olive grove.

Oleamea’s olive groves in Turkey’s Aegean region. Photo cour­tesy of Merve Doran

She said it was evi­dent that Turk­ish pro­duc­ers were becom­ing increas­ingly moti­vated to par­tic­i­pate in inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions. Aşkın added that since news of Granpa’s excel­lent results at the NYIOOC had got­ten out, the com­pany has received calls from exist­ing and prospec­tive cus­tomers.

The NYIOOC will be our top pri­or­ity next year,” she said.

The other big win­ner this year was the Mavras Olive Oil Com­pany, which won two Golds and one Sil­ver Award for their Edremit oils.

This is the first time we are tak­ing part in the NYIOOC,” CEO Melike As told Olive Oil Times. Of course, we are very happy to win two Golds and one Sil­ver Award for olive oils that were extracted from our dif­fer­ent groves.”

She attrib­uted the vic­tory to their hands-on man­age­ment dur­ing the pro­duc­tion process and the com­pa­ny’s new state-of-the-art mill, sit­u­ated near the groves on the slopes of Mount İda.

Sev­eral hun­dred miles south of Mount İda, Gizem Çet­intürk, the co-owner of Eli­ada Gida Tarim Kozmetik Itha­lat Ihra­cat, was yet another first-time entrant cel­e­brat­ing a big win at the NYIOOC.

She said receiv­ing a Sil­ver Award for the com­pa­ny’s del­i­cate Arbosana in its first year of pro­duc­tion was very mean­ing­ful for the fledg­ling com­pany.

Har­vest­ing olives in Turkey’s south­west­ern Aegean region. Photo cour­tesy of Gizem Çet­intürk.

It’s our first oil in the first year of pro­duc­tion, so it’s a great feel­ing to be awarded at the NYIOOC and a great start that shows us we are going in the right direc­tion,” Çet­intürk told Olive Oil Times.

She added that Eli­ada’s goal is to be a sought-after and trusted brand for health-con­scious con­sumers and win­ning awards from the NYIOOC was a big step in the right direc­tion for them.

Çet­intürk attrib­uted the company’s vic­tory to their pas­sion and deter­mi­na­tion.

Fel­low Aegean area pro­duc­ers, Genius Olive Oil were also among the first time entrants and win­ners at the 2020 NYIOOC. The Man­isa-based com­pany earned a Gold Award for its medium Arbe­quina.

Com­pany co-owner Tarkan Karakaya told Olive Oil Times that he was very proud of being awarded at the NYIOOC, adding that their pur­suit of per­fec­tion had brought them this great suc­cess.

Mean­while, Hiç founder Duygu Elak­dar cred­ited her com­pa­ny’s Sil­ver Award-win­ning organic medium Ayva­lik to the con­sis­tency of the product’s fla­vor as well as to their sin­gle-estate organic olive for­est. She added that invest­ing in a new mill had allowed the com­pany to har­vest and trans­form their olives more quickly, bet­ter pre­serv­ing their aro­mas and fla­vors.

We are proud to be the pio­neers of our region by achiev­ing this award,” Elak­dar said. It means a lot because we are the biggest organic-cer­ti­fied olive for­est in Urla.”

Har­vest­ing the olives behind the Sil­ver Award-win­ning Hiç Organic Ayva­lik. Photo cour­tesy of Nancy DePiano.

Merve Doran, the owner of the another vic­to­ri­ous south­west­ern pro­ducer, Oleamea, said her com­pany was also very proud of receiv­ing a Gold and a Sil­ver Award for their organic medium Meme­ciks at the com­pe­ti­tion.

It is an honor to be one of the many win­ning pro­duc­ers from Turkey, and we are excited to see the grow­ing recog­ni­tion of Turk­ish olive oil on the world stage,” Doran said.

Although envi­ron­men­tal and cur­rent global con­di­tions con­tinue to pose sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges, we con­tinue to strive for con­tin­u­ous qual­ity improve­ment and adapt our model where pos­si­ble,” she added.

Oleamea sources their olives from organic pro­duc­ers in the country’s Aegean region.

Just south of the Aegean region, in Fethiye, the pro­ducer of the Sidyma brand earned a Gold Award for their medium blend.

We are very proud of hav­ing received a Gold Award at the NYIOOC this year,” the company’s man­ag­ing direc­tor Sergül Yücekök said. We have worked tire­lessly to achieve a truly unique olive oil and are delighted to be shar­ing our achieve­ment with our cus­tomers and col­leagues.

Yücekök added that part of what makes Sidyma stand out is its extra­or­di­nar­ily high lev­els of polyphe­nols and said he believes that the com­pa­ny’s suc­cess comes from the research and know-how that is put into their olive oil pro­duc­tion.

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