Europe has almost 150 olive oil quality labels

In an increasingly globalised world where there is a tendency to speak, often without criteria, of quality products without any data to back them up, the figures that back up the quality and/or certify the origin of the products that we bring to our tables every day are becoming increasingly important. Products such as olive oil are no strangers to this fact, with Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) as guarantors of quality from its production in the olive grove to its packaging in the bottle.

For this reason, the Olive Oil World Congress has organised a conference entitled 'The DOPs and IGPs of EVOO in the world', an event framed within the activities of the "On The Road To OOWC 2024" to promote its brand. This event has served to highlight the work of professionals in the olive sector and, of course, olive oil as a sign of identity and tradition of each of the producing areas of the Mediterranean basin.

Under the slogan 'Taste it, enjoy, It's olive oil', the congress is sponsored by Agrobank, Junta de Castilla-La Mancha through the brand Campo y Alma, Grupo Interóleo, Balam Agriculture, Agrocolor and Kubota.

Ricardo Migueláñez, coordinator of the OOWC, was in charge of opening the conference by presenting this international initiative that has arisen in Spain "and which will unite the main producing countries worldwide, including Italy and Portugal, around a common objective, to promote the value of the olive oil sector and its professionals".

During the presentation entitled "Olive oil with designation of origin", Ewa Smolenska-Poloz, head of the EU register of geographical indications at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture, indicated that the number of Geographical Indications registered in the European Union amounts to 3,505. 505, "of which 147 correspond to Geographical Indications included in the category 'oils and fats'" and added that, in this respect, "the list by country is headed by Italy with 49 registered GIs, followed by Spain with 33 and Greece with 32".

Smolenska-Poloz also wanted to emphasise the economic value of olive oils, and according to data obtained in 2017, "they are the most important subcategory within the Geographical Indications registered with the European Commission, representing 54% in sales value and 50% of growth".

For his part, Francisco Javier Mate, Deputy Director General of Food Quality Control and Agri-Food Laboratories of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, explained "The importance of the differentiated quality figures of EVOO in Spain".

Mate afirmó que, según datos fechados en 2021, “en la Unión Europea existen 31 Indicaciones Geográficas registradas procedentes de España, en concreto 30 Denominaciones de Origen Protegidas y 1 Indicación Geográfica Protegida, distribuidas en las provincias de Andalucía, con 13; Cataluña, con 5; Castilla La Mancha, con 4; Extremadura, Aragón y Baleares con 2; y Navarra, La Rioja y Comunidad Valenciana con 1” y añadió que “pronto habrá que sumar dos nuevas una vez que se aprueben dos de las tramitaciones que se encuentran en curso y que corresponden a Aceite de Madrid y Aceite de Villuerca-lbores-Jara”.

En total, el experto aseguró que en España “existen 866.000 hectáreas de olivos inscritas en las DO e IGPs de aceite de oliva” en las cuales “148.000 agricultores, 528 almazaras y 408 envasadoras viven del aceite de oliva y son capaces de producir un total de 111.000 toneladas de Aceite de Oliva Virgen y Aceite de Oliva Virgen Extra que “supone el 8,5% del total de aceite de oliva español”.

Del mismo modo, Mate señaló como de las 31.000 toneladas comercializadas, “el 70% corresponde al mercado nacional, mientras que el 30% se destina al mercado exterior, siendo
los principales destinos de exportación países como China con 2.320 toneladas, Del mismo modo, Mate señaló como de las 31.000 toneladas comercializadas, “el 70% corresponde al mercado nacional, mientras que el 30% se destina al mercado exterior, siendo los principales destinos de exportación países como China con 2.320 toneladas, Estados Unidos con 705 toneladas, Japón con 410 toneladas, Alemania con 258 y Suiza con 237 toneladas”.

Por último, el experto recordó las DOP e IGP de Aceites de Oliva Virgen españolas más relevantes en superficie, encabezando la lista la DOP Baena con 8.500 agricultores, 17 almazaras y 30 envasadoras; DOP Sierra Mágina con 11.656 agricultores, 24 almazaras y 21 envasadoras; IGP Aceite de Jaén con 22.400 agricultores, 40 almazaras y 46 envasadoras; y la DOP Aceite de Mallorca con 1.042 agricultores, 15 almazaras y 24 envasadoras.

Por último, tuvo lugar la mesa redonda “Presente y futuro del AOVE de calidad diferenciada” en la que intervinieron los expertos José Manuel Bajo, secretario Ejecutivo, Sectorial Nacional AOVE con Denominación de Origen; Susana Oliveira, secretaria general de la Associação dos Agricultores do Ribatejo, DOP Azeites dos Ribatejo; y Giuseppina Lavalle, del Consorzio IGP Olio di Pugliade la DOP Italia. 

Los ponentes estuvieron de acuerdo en la falta de conocimiento sobre el producto por parte de los consumidores, que no saben diferenciar entre un aceite de oliva virgen extra y un aceite de oliva. Asimismo, los participantes aseguraron que es necesario que los países productores de aceite de oliva trabajen de forma conjunta sobre un objetivo común: poner en valor el aceite de oliva y a sus profesionales.

En este sentido, el Congreso Mundial del Aceite de Oliva, como proyecto colaborativo, pretende aglutinar a todos los países productores que quieran aportar sus conocimientos y experiencias para que los mensajes y acciones acordados entre todos en los órganos de decisión de la iniciativa se amplifiquen y lleguen a todos los consumidores de aceite de oliva en el mundo.

Mate stated that, according to data dated 2021, "in the European Union there are 31 registered Geographical Indications from Spain, specifically 30 Protected Designations of Origin and 1 Protected Geographical Indication, distributed in the provinces of Andalusia, with 13; Catalonia, with 5; Castilla La Mancha, with 4; Extremadura, Aragon and the Balearic Islands with 2; and Navarre, La Rioja and Valencia with 1" and he added that "two new ones will soon have to be added once the approval is given for two of the applications currently underway for Aceite de Madrid and Aceite de Villuerca-lbores-Jara".

In total, the expert assured that in Spain "there are 866,000 hectares of olive trees registered in the DOs and IGPs of olive oil" in which "148,000 farmers, 528 mills and 408 bottling companies make a living from olive oil and are capable of producing a total of 111,000 tonnes of Virgin Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil which "represents 8.5% of the total Spanish olive oil".

Likewise, Mate pointed out that of the 31,000 tonnes marketed, "70% corresponds to the national market, while 30% is destined for the foreign market, with the main export destinations being countries such as China, China and the United States".
In the same way, Mate pointed out that of the 31,000 tonnes sold, "70% corresponds to the domestic market, while 30% is destined for the foreign market, with the main export destinations being countries such as China with 2,320 tonnes, the United States with 705 tonnes, Japan with 410 tonnes, Germany with 258 tonnes and Switzerland with 237 tonnes".

Finally, the expert recalled the most important PDOs and PGIs of Spanish Virgin Olive Oils in terms of surface area, heading the list were the PDO Baena with 8,500 farmers, 17 mills and 30 bottling companies; PDO Sierra Mágina with 11,656 farmers, 24 mills and 21 bottling companies; PGI Aceite de Jaén with 22,400 farmers, 40 mills and 46 bottling companies; and the PDO Aceite de Mallorca with 1,042 farmers, 15 mills and 24 bottling companies.

Finally, the round table "Present and future of differentiated quality EVOO" was held, with the participation of the experts José Manuel Bajo, Executive Secretary, National Sectorial Sectorial EVOO with Designation of Origin; Susana Oliveira, General Secretary of the Associação dos Agricultores do Ribatejo, PDO Azeites dos Ribatejo; and Giuseppina Lavalle, from the Consorzio IGP Olio di Pugliade of PDO Italy.

The speakers agreed on the lack of knowledge about the product on the part of consumers, who do not know how to differentiate between an extra virgin olive oil and an olive oil. Likewise, the participants affirmed that it is necessary for olive oil producing countries to work together towards a common objective: to promote olive oil and its professionals.

In this sense, the Olive Oil World Congress, as a collaborative project, aims to bring together all the producing countries that wish to contribute their knowledge and experience so that the messages and actions agreed between all of them in the initiative's decision-making bodies are amplified and reach all the olive oil consumers in the world.