Egyptian Olive Oils Succeed in International Olive Oil Competition
EGYPT — For the first time, Egyptian olive oils were submitted to the annual olive oil competition hosted by the Agency for the Valorization of Agricultural Products (AVPA), a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to contributing to the valorization of quality of agricultural products. The olive oil of Wadi Food, a company founded in 1986 with the goal of providing high-quality, natural, healthy and affordable products, was recognized as gourmet extra virgin oil in the category of medium fruity oil, signifying zero defects and significant positive attributes and placing it among the top 50 olive oils submitted to the competition, out of 150 submissions. This recognition is a significant accomplishment for Wadi Food as well as the entire Egyptian olive oil industry.
Wadi Food is among over a dozen olive oil processors that have benefited from technical consultations of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Zaytun Project. The Zaytun Project, implemented by CNFA, aims to increase income and employment across the olive sector. As part of a multipronged approach to enhance production and processing of table olives and olive oil in Egypt, the Zaytun Project worked closely with the management of more than 15 olive oil processors to assess their production and provide targeted technical recommendations. Mr. Khalil Nasrallah, Executive manager of Wadi Food Industries Company, noted, “With the help of the Zaytun project, the quality of the Egyptian table olive and olive oil was brought back to center stage. Experts in production, processing and marketing studied the olive industry in Egypt and worked with growers and processors alike on the critical challenges that they are facing. AVPA was able to confirm that Egyptian extra virgin olive oil has qualities that should allow it to compete with the top olive oils in the world.”
After technical consultations, the olive oils of 12 Egyptian beneficiary processors were submitted to the AVPA’s annual competition and judged by a panel composed of professionals in the olive oil business, distinguished chefs and dedicated amateur olive oil testers which convened in Paris, France to settle on the world’s best olive oils. The success of Egyptian olive oils in the competition marks an important step in re-establishing the reputation of Egyptian olive oil internationally, as well as introducing a new identity of Egyptian olive oil in the international market.
Another key outcome of the competition was the recognition of commonalities across many of the Egyptian olive oils, which shared the characteristics of ripe fruitiness, softness and smoothness as well as an almond flavor. After the competition results were announced, AVPA President Philippe Juglar noted that the success of Egyptian olive oils will likely lead to the creation of new categories that will correspond to the characteristics of North African olive oils in next year’s competition.