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Olive oil for the world

This project has as leader the portuguese company sovena group and has six participants from eu and non-eu countries. It covers 6 main r&d areas which are key in an environment of continuous process of optimisation and adding value within the olive oil chain (from farm to worldwide distribution).

SOVENA is present in all the phases of the production of olive oil, from the olive tree cultivation to the worldwide distribution of the final product. Research and development are mandatory in the everyday life of the SOVENA teams operating in different areas as safety, quality, environment friendly technology, marketing and product development. Six main research and development areas were identified in the chain values of the company, and an investment in these areas is necessary for the next four years, as the knowledge about the product, olive oil, shall be increased so that the quality standard of the product that consumers buy keeps on improving. The company also aims to continue to grow as one of the biggest olive oil producers in the world. A) Adding value to wastes and by-products of olive oil production Wastes and by-products from olive oil production contain a huge amount of high added value bioactive components, as well as usable substances from which novel products with key nutritional, therapeutic and defence properties can be obtained. Membrane separations are regarded as particularly suitable for food applications due to the characteristics of the processes that are detailed in the technological development envisaged. B) Food safety and authenticity of olive oil Recent trends in global food production, processing, distribution and preparation are creating an increasing demand for food safety research in order to ensure a safer global food supply. Some contaminants must be controlled in olive oils as discussed in the technological development topic envisaged, in order to guarantee consumers security and confidence in the product and producers. Adulteration is also a major issue in the olive oil market as it comprises a great hazard not only for the economic development of olive oil producers but also for the health and safety of olive oil consumers. New methodologies to detect authenticity/adulteration in olive oil will be set up. Methods to be used cover a wide range of analytical controls, in terms of safety, quality and authenticity testing of olive oil. C. Technological processes Several technological processes are used in the manufacturing of olive oils. In recent decades, several developments in olive oil refining have taken place at both levels, process design and control. In this study, key stages of different refining processes will be optimised in terms of process, food safety and quality control, as well as cost; characterisation and studies aimed at the valorisation of refining by-products will be performed. D. Characterisation and shelf life of olive oil A database with chemical and sensory results will be created as a tool to discriminate olive oil samples from different mills. The same database will be helpful to select olive oil samples with specific sensory characteristics adjusted to the consumers’ taste profile. The study of shelf-life of olive oils will also be conducted to evaluate olive oil aging from the mill to the consumer. E. Health and olive oil Among olive oil components, some are relevant for their bioactivity and benefits to human health. Bioactive compounds in virgin olive oils will be characterised and their bioavailability and health effect will be studied. F. New Products/New Markets In worldwide exportation of olive oils, packaging is a key factor. Packaging must allow proper conditioning and protection of the olive oil during its shelf-life, and be at the same time resistant to different transportation conditions. Also, it must be friendly to the worldwide variety of consumers in terms of usage, image and environment. Market requests in this specific area have increased in recent years and a new packaging line consisting of new PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) exclusive bottles will be developed for worldwide olive oil exportation, which will enhance competitiveness in the export market in various vectors, including lower transport costs.
Acronym: 
State-of-the-olive
Project ID: 
4 997
Start date: 
01-06-2009
Project Duration: 
55months
Project costs: 
3 100 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Food Processing
Market Area: 
General food products

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.