More than 1,500 buyers from 47 countries are meeting from today at the World Olive Oil Exhibition, WOOE, the world's largest monographic fair dedicated to the olive oil sector, which celebrates its tenth edition between today and tomorrow in Pavilion 6 of IFEMA (Madrid), with more than 1,000 brands represented.
The opening ceremony held this morning, which was attended by the executive director of the International Olive Oil Council (IOC), Abdellatif Ghedira; the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas; the CEO of Pomona Keepers, Otilia Romero de Condés; and the director of the fair, José Luis Murcia, was attended by authorities and personalities from Castilla-La Mancha who wanted to show their support for the world olive oil showcase and the region's olive oil companies.
Abdellatif Ghedira indicated during the inauguration that this sector continues to make great efforts in its quest for competitiveness.
For his part, Luis Planas pointed out that in a year in which production has fallen by 50%, the Ministry continues to support this sector and hopes that both the prices and the quality of this leading product in the world can be maintained.
The WOOE director highlighted that 2023 is a year of uncertainty and change within the olive oil sector, due to high demand and production shortages. "This puts us in a place where we need to be prepared and find new answers to new challenges," he said.
Finally, the CEO of Pomona Keepers celebrated the fact that olive oil mills, producers, importers, chefs, the HORECA channel, the gastronomic press and, in short, the entire olive oil sector, are coming together these days at the fair on its tenth anniversary, "to continue to promote a business in which we believe and to which we are passionately dedicated".
WOOE Awards for Excellence
On this first day of the fair, the WOOE Awards for Excellence were presented, the awards that highlight those professionals, companies, projects and products that, through their actions and proposals, contribute to improving and developing the olive oil sector.
In addition to the executive director of the International Olive Oil Council (IOC), Abdellatif Ghedira, this year the WOOE has awarded the Consejería de Agricultura, Agua y Desarrollo Rural de la Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha, for its decisive support to olive oil in gastronomy in initiatives such as 'Campo y Alma'. The award was collected by the Director General for Food of the Regional Government of Castilla-La Mancha, Elena Escobar.
Also receiving awards were José Antonio Medina, head chef at the El Coto de Quevedo restaurant in Torre de Juan Abad (Ciudad Real) for the use of local olive oil in his cuisine, and Carlos de la Sierra, for his work in favour of olive oil in his dual capacity as president of the DOP Aceite de la Alcarria and Globalcaja.
De la Sierra reiterated his support for this initiative, which is in the "DNA of the entity" and demonstrates its "commitment to the development of our land and people". "When we at Globalcaja say 'it is not the same' we refer, among many other things, to our participation in initiatives such as this, which reaffirm our position as the driving force behind our environment", he explained in his words of thanks as spokesman for all the award winners, which also included Carlos Morillo, president of Oleícola Jaén, and the Andalusian Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, for their corporate model of environmental development and their work in favour of olive oil.
With regard to the activities at the WOOE held this Tuesday, in addition to various conferences and tastings by different producers from around the world, the first of the two "WOOE Challenges" took place, the cooking competitions in which participants have to prepare a dish live with a series of specific ingredients and whose first prize is worth 1,500 euros. Today's was the interpretation of the "Remojón Andaluz", with orange, onion and Andalusian EVOOs, sponsored by the Junta de Andalucía.
Tomorrow, at 12.30 p.m., the WOOE Salad Challenge will take place, sponsored by the "Campo y Alma" guarantee brand of the Government of Castilla-La Mancha, in which the participants will have to prepare a salad using: PDO Manchego Cheese, PDO Honey from La Alcarria, olive oils from Castilla-La Mancha from one of the 4 PDOs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the region (Montes de Toledo, Alcarria, Campo de Calatrava and Campo de Montiel) and walnuts from the quality brand Nuez de Nerpio.
At this 10th edition of the WOOE, olive oil mills belonging to the Montes de Toledo, Campo de Calatrava and Campo de Montiel oil designations of origin are represented, which are attending under the umbrella of the Ciudad Real Provincial Council, as well as the Vidabol Group, made up of three cooperatives from Ciudad Real and one from Cuenca.
In turn, olive oil mills from Ciudad Real such as the Montes Norte Group (Malagón), Aceites Malagón (Malagón), Oro del Jabalón, Aceites Oleo Pepillo (Valdepeñas) and Covicar (Almodóvar del Campo) will have their own stand, while the companies Molinos del Aceite, Aceites García de la Cruz and Olibrok from Toledo will be taking part.