Year 12 | 26 January 2020 | TO ENTER | TO REGISTER

Extra virgin olive oil, half century celebrations

The olive oil industry sets sights on the future. After celebrating in Milan, Italy, the 50 years of “extra virgin olive oil” category, the goal is now to give back value to a food defined “functional food” by all

"1960-2010. Happy birthday extra virgin olive oil, king of fats”. The event which took place on December 2nd, 2010, thanks to Luigi Caricato’s vision, was a historical milestone. The élite of international oil met at Westin Palace in Milan to celebrate the 50 years of extra virgin olive oil. The International Oil Council, together with the Italian Society for Fat Substances Study and the National Academy of Olive Tree and Oil, sponsored the event with great support.

The meeting involved a large audience from Italy and abroad. The Italian history of extra virgin was revisited. Indeed, an Italian law dating back to November 13th, 1960, instituted the product known as “extra virgin olive oil”, whose quality levels can nowadays be considered excellent.
The marker is going in the desired direction, as shown by the expansion of consumes. “From ethnical food, olive oil has reached the status of inter-ethnic food. This evolution – says Caricato – is a password for the future. Consumes now interest populations which were not part of the olive oil culture in the past. The food scenario which is in progress is characterized both by purely hedonistic aspects – as far as the sensorial characterization of extra virgin olive oils, with their manifold variety of aromas and flavors, goes – and by more strictly health aspects, for its role of functional food as it is universally recognized by the medical and food science.

Since 1960 on, the road has been bumpy, but results have been surprising year after year. Thus, this meeting has been the day of pride for all attendees. The industry is aware of the urgent need for avoid to replicate itself. All agents in the market know they are required to invent something new.

As Luigi Caricato, the mastermind of this great event, stated with determination “A proud impulse is necessary, we are going nowhere if we do not renew our spirit!”. The olive tree culture is in serious danger, for instance of a massive abandon of olive grove cultivations, if new ways to run the business are not proposed. After the introduction of extra virgin olive oil, new ways are necessary. On one hand, the quality has largely improved, but prices not always guarantee a just profit to producers. To leave this uncertainty and difficulty status behind, it will be instrumental talking to consumers and restaurant owners, to convince them of the importance of a quality extra virgin oil, without choosing in function of price only. Quality always has a price, a right price. It is not possible to have quality for a bargain.

To change and favor a more aware consume, oil needs a new aspect. “I decided – says Luigi Caricato – to launch the project “Olio Officina” (, a tool to increase the knowledge on the raw matter of “olive oil”, in order to put oil in close relationship to its evolutive dynamics in the kitchen, in the diverse food formulations which make us of it. The future depends on criteria of correct use of extra virgin oils. The goal is to convince an evolved consumer to develop awareness while buying a product, and to address the demand of professionals of food and restoration, that is chefs and restaurant owner, as interpreters of a new relationship between oil and other raw food”.

by Maria Carla Squeo
07 february 2011, Technical Area > Olive & Oil