More than 4,000 olive sector professionals from 47 countries and 1,500 brands attended the World Olive Oil Exhibition (WOOE), the world’s largest monographic exhibition dedicated to the olive oil sector, which celebrated its tenth edition on 7 and 8 March in pavilion 6 of IFEMA (Madrid).
At the opening ceremony, which was attended by the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas; the President of Pomona Keepers, Otilia Romero de Condés ; and the director of the fair, José Luis Murcia, the Executive Director of the International Olive Council (IOC), Abdellatif Ghedira, recalled that the IOC attaches particular importance to this fair, which offers a unique opportunity to discover the best olive oils from all over the world, to discuss the evolution of the sector, quality, the health and environmental benefits of olive products, consumption and world production, and many other important issues. He also thanked Minister Luis Planas for his ongoing support to the IOC and congratulated the WOOE organisers, whose efforts have made the fair a key event for professionals in the sector.
Luis Planas commented on the sharp drop in olive oil production, especially in Spain, the world’s leading producer, where the decrease is 50%, and assured that the Ministry would continue to support this sector and that he hoped that the prices and quality of this leading product in the world could be maintained.
The WOOE director also highlighted the uncertainty that characterises the olive sector in 2023 due to high demand and production shortages, a situation that forces the sector to “find new answers to new challenges”.
The president of Pomona Keepers, the organising company, welcomed the producers, importers, chefs and media specialising in the olive oil sector, who had come together on this occasion “to continue to promote an activity in which we believe and to which we are passionately attached”.
On the first day of the fair, the WOOE organisers awarded prizes for excellence to professionals, companies, projects and products that, through their actions and proposals, contribute to the improvement and development of the olive oil sector. The Executive Director of the International Olive Council receive one of these awards for his contribution to the sector.
As every year, several conferences and tastings of olive oils from around the world were offered. The Deputy Executive Director of the International Olive Council, Jaime Lillo, participated in a conference dedicated to sustainability and explained that the IOC is more than ever at the side of the sector in this period of uncertainty caused by the general decline in production due to the effects of climate change, and that it is trying to provide answers and propose mechanisms within its activities. In particular, he referred to the organisation’s work in the technical field, through its contribution to various projects promoting the use of sustainable farming practices. He welcomed the increase in production and encouraged the sector to seize the opportunity given by a new generation of consumers who are sensitive to the three main qualities that characterise olive oil: its health benefits, its contribution to environmental conservation and its taste qualities that make it a delicious product. Other conferences were held on various topics such as olive tourism, differentiation of olive oils as a marketing tool, olive oil and health, olive pomace oil, denominations of origin and many other topics of interest to the sector.
The many visitors were also able to watch cooking competitions where participants had to prepare a dish with specific ingredients that highlighted different olive oils.
The second day, which coincided with World Women’s Day, was an opportunity to celebrate a meeting of olive oil women.