Extending OliveCare to foster excellence in production of Australian olives (OL17006)
What was it all about?
Beginning late 2018, this three-year investment helped build and maintain the quality of Australian olive products. The project supported olive producer participation relating to the Australian Olive Industry Code of Practice (OliveCare®) and expanded participation to more retailers, food service distributors and exporters.
Specifically, the project:
- Supported aligned project Australian Olive Industry Communications and Extension Program (OL18000) aimed at increased productivity, quality and consumer confidence by promoting world-best production practices and extend R&D outcomes to Australian Olive Levy Payers.
- Built the quality reputation of Australian olive products and set benchmarks for improving local quality to more effectively compete in domestic and global markets.
- Increased producer participation in the Australian Olive Industry OliveCare Code of Best Practice program, extending membership along the supply chain.
- Verified growing, harvesting, processing and oil storage practices and product label integrity under OliveCare certification, including support for consumer confidence in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) or other ‘premium’ claims.
The team engaged with olive producers and processors, product brand owners, and supply chain partners such as food service, retailers, importers, and exporters. Up to 150 olive enterprises directly engaged with the OliveCare program, with additional industry stakeholders exposed to project activities through AOA’s various communication platforms.
Several key activities and outputs were delivered by the program, including:
- Communication, information and technology transfer activities, including e-newsletters, articles in industry publications, checklists, workshops, field days, webinars and conference presentations covering olive production, processing, handling, quality, food safety and distribution best practice.
- Stakeholder engagement and technology adoption surveys in conjunction with OL18000 to guide activities and inform industry need.
- Australian market quality surveys of locally produced and imported products labelled as EVOO.
- Olive grower and brand owner participation in the Australian International Olive Awards and other state and international competitions to benchmark performance against peers and facilitate test data provision for OliveCare product certification compliance.
- Develop OliveCare Code of Best Practice information and training resources, review and streamline program documentation, build membership, engagement and program compliance.
Via its assessments, the team reported that overall EVOO brand performance improved to 80 per cent during program period, up from 68 per cent. Importantly, products classified as Lampante olive oil (inferior and not fit for consumption without further processing) has all but disappeared from the Australian marketplace, down from 30 per cent in 2014/15 analysis. To date there are 24 OliveCare members representing 44 EVOO products that have been issued with Freshness Tested Compliance Certificates.
OliveCare member Best Practice Compliance was reported as excellent, at 70-80 per cent, with members consistently out-performing non-members in olive competitions, a measure of increased skills and capacity building.
Find out more about OliveCare® and available resources in the members area of the Australian Olives website.
This project was funded through the Hort Innovation Olive Fund using the olive R&D levy and contributions from the Australian Government.
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