Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/55305

Contents of this Issue


Page 94 of 159

Breiman's brand favorites for Tunisian extra-virgin olive oil include Rivière d'Or and Cho's Terra Delyssa, but many more companies are selling in the U.S., moving into the market or tak- ing advantage of long-standing friendships. The Tunisian specialty food producer Les Moulins Mahjoub has had a relationship with upscale casual restaurant chain Le Pain Quotidien since the 1990s; the chain is currently selling Les Moulins Mahjoub extra-virgin olive oil in tins as well as jars of harissa, sun-dried tomatoes and mountain capers at stores nationwide. Bulk and foodservice sales of Tunisian oil continue to be an important market with com- panies like Newman's Own Organics using Tunisian olive oil in their products. (For a list of Tunisian olive oil producers, visit 100percenttunisian.com.) At specialty retail, the Tunisian oils continue to gain traction with sell-through and reorders, says Hamman, whose company has helped lead Tunisian olive oil promotions in the U.S. "That tells me that consumers are embracing the oils, and retailers are pleased with the degree of promotion and awareness building that's been done to support the brands," he notes. "And with the advent of the Arab Spring, which was led by Tunisia, people seem to understand that each purchase of 100 percent Tunisian oil supports the farmers and producers of this important crop in the New Tunisia." But it's not just international awareness of the "New Tunisia" that's helping drive changes in the market. Cho's Wajih Rekik notes that while the revolution did help put Tunisia on the map for some people, it has changed his company internally as well. "We find ourselves operating in a much more stable political environment far from oppression. The revolution made me and my company more determined than ever to proudly promote Tunisia's name and culture."—S.S. THREE COUNTRIES TO WATCH Tunisia and Morocco have proven that olive oil consumers are willing to explore flavors beyond well-known producers. That's why a number of countries in the Middle East region are taking advantage of the ideal olive-farming climate to create a boom of their own. Here are three promising nations to watch. JORDAN: Expecting a projected growth of 28 percent in its olive oil production for 2011, Jordan is readying itself for the international market. The small country's olive orchards are relatively young, with only 4 percent being more than 50 years old. But they are growing, thanks to annual crop plantings of 2,700 hectares (about 6,670 acres) in recent years, according to a report published by the International Olive Council. Much of the Jordanian olive oil consumption is still domestic, but the projected increase, a preliminary estimate from the country's Ministry of Agriculture, coincides with plans for heightening exposure to the international market. In an interview with the Jordan Times, Obada Kayyali, director of the Jordan Olive Products Exporters Association (JOPEA), revealed that his organization was planning an exhibition in April or May of 2012 to introduce the olive oils to international companies and traders. The country currently exports its oils to Britain, Russia and Japan. Major producers include Terra Rossa and Majdal. LEBANON: Though its exports in 2009 came in at just over 3,000 tons, Lebanon has a presence among olive oils markets in the U.S. Cortas USA, the stateside arm of Beirut's Cortas Canning & Refrigeration, has seen a 10 percent increase in its Lebanese olive oil sales from 2010 to 2011, with a projected 72,000 liters sold last year. Ethnic stores are a primary channel for the oils, such as Sahadi Fine Foods in Brooklyn, N.Y. Ron Sahadi, the specialty store's managing director, says that Lebanese olive oils are among his best sellers. "Sales have been pretty steady on these imported oils," he adds, noting that shoppers comprise a mix of ethnic and non-ethnic customers. And education is key with the lesser-known brands. "It does take a little more work to encourage them to try the products," Sahadi says. "However, once they try these brands, they often become repeat customers." Manufacturers Sahadi works with directly include Saifan and Al Wadi Al Akhdar. A comprehensive list of industry contacts for Lebanese olive oils is available at lebaneseoliveoil.com. SYRIA: With 6 percent of the world's olive oil production inside its borders, the Syrian Arab Republic is ripe for global growth. The International Olive Council estimated an increase of more than 30,000 tons of olive oil in the 2010–2011 growing season. This growth is due largely in part to the Syrian government working to subsidize olive tree farming to boost production. Exports jumped 39 percent in 2010-2011, a record high for the Middle Eastern country, according to an IOC report released in September 2011. Bassel Katabi, export promotion consultant for the Syrian Enterprise & Business Centre (SEBC), says steps being taken to boost exports include developing training courses around opportunities for companies, buyer-seller meetings and participation at international exhibitions, the latest of which was Anuga 2011 in Cologne, Germany. Among the leading exporters are East Mediterranean Olive Oil Company, Mohmoud Al-Qubaitary & Sons and Betenjaneh Co. Major producers include Durra, The Olive House and Syrian Saudi.—E.M. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012 (continued on p. 126) 93

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Specialty Food Magazine - JAN-FEB 2012