Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes Update
Tasting the best extra virgin olive oils from around the world!
Thursday, 5th December 2019
The Aim of Savantes
Savantes was started in 2001, the year the Apple iPod was launched, which makes 2020 the 20th year of our activities. We may not be as ubiquitous as the iPods, however Savantes is widely known in the worldwide olive oil industry.
Our aim during the first two decades has included a multitude of objectives and it is time to simplify it to encompass all the events we are involved in. We have revised our ethos for the next decade.
Our Aim is now simply:
‘To increase the consumption of olive oil.’
Our main emphasis will continue to be to improve product knowledge which is paramount when competing with vegetable oils and other brands. It has become commonplace in our industry to compete by denigrating other brands and olive oils from other regions, this plays into the hands of the vegetable oils.
With the supply of olive oil exceeding demand, declining consumption in traditional consuming countries and the use of tariffs as punitive measures, product knowledge is the most valuable commercial investment to increase sales.
Olive Oil from Start to Finish
As an industry we depend on successful sales of all classifications of olive oil covering a range of price points. To adopt an approach which respects this we will promote the concept of ‘Starting olive oils and Finishing olive oils’. This will embrace the consumers who use lower-priced olive oils and encourage them to aspire to using the more flavoursome higher-priced oils to finish their dish.
In our flavour assessment programmes we will still concentrate on the higher end of the market with extra virgin olive oils from all producing regions. We will provide data and information which covers all classifications of olive oil in the marketplace. We will continue with our corporate programmes for the large organisations which supply the supermarkets and groceries around the world.
Watch Your Language
We believe that our language and designs have become too technical and remote from food, and the oils have followed suit. To sell a product that meets the food demands of consumers we need to adopt simpler, more evocative, language and pictures throughout the industry: producers; administrators; researchers; panellists: traders; and retailers. We will then produce and sell a more appealing food ingredient for consumers.
We never fail, either we succeed or learn
That saying, modified from a quote from Nelson Mandela, sums up the year for Savantes events in 2019. We organised or co-organised 11 events in 5 countries. Over 275 people attended these events and approximately 200 undertook the Savantes Skills Review. We welcomed 2 new Savantes, giving a total of 7, and around 20% of those who did the test achieved Associate Status. We introduced and presented Silver, Gold and Platinum Associate Certificates. We passed the total of 100 Associate Savantes from 10 countries.
We celebrated Team Tasting Champions in Greece and Spain and applauded the first World Team Tasting Champions from Navarra in Spain, followed closely by the two teams from Greece.
Those were the Savantes successes for the year.
We learned from the low attendance at Savantes Varietals and the Savantes Conference – two events which we are unlikely to repeat. We also learned of the difficulties in developing Savantes en Cuisine designed to evaluate varietals in food. We will continue to pursue this idea.
Savantes Madrid 5-6 March 2020
Currently the only planned two-day Savantes programme for 2020 will be held in Madrid on 5 and 6 March. The sessions include guidance on flavour assessment, markets, compliance, uses, health benefits, blending and competitions. The Savantes Skills Review will be held in the morning of the second day. The full programme and registration are available at www.savantes.org
Regional Team Tasting Championships
The increasing number of Savantes events means that we will not be able to support or co-organise Team Tasting Championships in all those countries which may want to be involved in the future.
In recognition of this we are introducing 2 options:
1. To hold a National Team Tasting Championship without the involvement of Savantes. The winning team will still be invited to the World Championship contingent on the Championship meeting the guidelines of Savantes. Associate Savante and Savante Certification will not be provided for these championships and Savantes will not assist in the procurement of olive oils.
2. To hold a regional Team Tasting Championship coorganised with Savantes. Certification will be provided, Savantes will manage the registration and collect the fee in the process. Savantes will assist in the collection of olive oils and manage the tests.
The regions and respective countries are:
North America – USA, Canada, Mexico
South America – Peru, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay
North-Central Europe – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, United Kingdom.
Adriatic and Aegean – Cyprus, Croatia, Albania, Greece, Turkey. Slovenia, Romania, Italy
Iberia and North Africa – Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Libya
Australasia and Southern Africa – South Africa, Namibia, Australia, New Zealand
Middle East – Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, Israel
Asia – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines
Any countries omitted will be added into the appropriate region.
We will also consider changing the allocation of countries to regions if appropriate.
Invitations to the World Championships from the Regional Championship will still allow the leading team from each country to participate.
We are happy to discuss with Savantes and Associate Savantes the arrangements to run Championships in either format in 2020 and subsequent years.
The Olive Oil Conference – North America
Over the last 5 years Savantes has been a co-organiser of the Olive Oil Conference in the USA, but following a change in the format and content in the conference we have decided to focus our activities in the USA on other events, including the annual North American Tasting Championship and the Savantes two-day tasting programmes.
Any Savantes or Associates who are interested in co-organising Savantes events in the USA should email email@example.com with an outline of the suggested event and organisational arrangements.
Thank you and Enjoy your Festivities
Savantes depends on your participation – thank you for your involvement. We have a diverse group of people involved in Savantes with many different festivals and festivities. We wish you all the very best, enjoyment and prosperity for 2020.
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