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Journal Articles Trends in Food Science and Technology Year : 2021

A comparative study of the main international extra virgin olive oil competitions: Their impact on producers and consumers

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Abstract

Background: Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) arouses the desire to seek maximum gastronomic value, especially from informed consumers. The olive industry therefore rewards the best oils in competitions that add real commercial value to EVOOs. On the basis of competition-specific rules, judges trained in tasting award prizes that distinguish the best oils and serve as a guide for consumers, encouraging them to discover the diversity of EVOO tastes. Scope and approach: This study compares several international competitions, detailing their rules and practical organization. The article also examines how olive oil competitions impact producers and consumers. Key findings and conclusions: Competitions operate differently, starting with a selection phase that constrains some EVOOs, not all of which are given a fair chance to participate. Although most international competitions apply selection criteria from the International Olive Council Mario Solinas, the sensory evaluation of the oils takes into account numerous descriptors that involve very subtle distinctions. A more standardized approach to evaluation sheets, while leaving room for competitions to add specific descriptors, would be desirable. A thorough inter-competition classification by continent and country to identify the best "EVOO of the year" is realized by EVOO World Ranking. Although the awards promote high quality EVOOs, consumer preferences do not mirror those of tasting experts, particularly on the intensities of bitterness and pungency. Competition results should inform consumers about the organoleptic diversity of oils, enabling them to choose the best oils for their tastes and needs.
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Dates and versions

hal-03140440 , version 1 (12-02-2021)

Licence

Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives - CC BY 4.0

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Catherine Rebufa, Christian Pinatel, Jacques Artaud, Fabien Girard. A comparative study of the main international extra virgin olive oil competitions: Their impact on producers and consumers. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 2021, 107, pp.445-454. ⟨10.1016/j.tifs.2020.11.014⟩. ⟨hal-03140440⟩
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