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EVOOLEUM AWARDS 2018: Interview with José María Penco, Director of the Competition and Juan A. Peñamil, Editor of the Guide

EVOOLEUM AWARDS 2018: Interview with José María Penco, Director of the Competition and Juan A. Peñamil, Editor of the Guide

2018/01/02 - The first edition of EVOOLEUM AWARDS bursted with great force in the international scene supported, among other reasons, by its extreme rigor and the spectacular Tasting Panel that constituted its Jury. After its consolidation in the previous edition, and with less than 20 days remaining for the end of the registration period, we speak about the third edition of this pioneer contest with its two great architects.

The third edition of the EVOOLEUM AWARDS, the International Contest for the Quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oils, sponsored by AEMO and Mercacei, has been called. What is the balance of the two previous editions of the contest?
José Mª Penco:
This project was born to become an international reference competition, conceived in Spain but with a clear global vocation, and it has consolidated in its first two editions, earning a preferential place in the international panorama of contests that reward and recognize the quality of the extra virgins. From AEMO and Mercacei we have contributed with all our knowledge, efforts and means to establish solid rules in this contest, pillars that lend credibility -and make infallible- this selection of the 100 best extra virgins in the world, and we think that we have achieved it. If we add to that the annual edition of the exclusive EVOOLEUM Guide, the result is a pioneering and unique project that has gained the confidence of producers and consumers. We feel satisfied and grateful for this recognition. EVOOLEUM is here to stay.

In the current profusion of contests and competitions that seek to reward the quality of extra virgin olive oil, how is EVOOLEUM different from the rest and which are its main characteristics?
José Mª Penco:
We believe that the great differential value of EVOOLEUM lies in the fact that, in addition to becoming a reference for the producing sector, it is aimed at the consumer, in the broadest sense of the word. And we have achieved it with the annual edition of our Guide that presents the 100 best extra virgins in the world. In addition, EVOOLEUM maintains its three pillars: guarantee to the consumer (the rules), reliability of the process (the jury) and the promotion of the final product (the Guide).
Juan A. Peñamil: From the moment of its conception, EVOOLEUM is an instrument aimed at highlighting the effort and work of producers in obtaining quality EVOOs, that is our main purpose, because from Mercacei and AEMO we are convinced that the future of the sector passes through the commitment to quality and excellence. And I would like to highlight something very important: although it is a business bet, EVOOLEUM does not obey a monetary or economic issue; the best proof of this is that the registration period lasts less than two months, as is the case with the Mario Solinas contest of the IOC or the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture contest, unlike many other contests that extend it up to half a year. In short, we are not talking about a business, but about a tool to serve the sector.

EVOOLEUM boasts a spectacular Tasting Panel. Are there any new features this year regarding the composition of the Jury?
José Mª Penco:
The jury of the first two editions was the best possible, therefore our main objective has been to maintain the base of it, with some international incorporations. We are proud of the trust they give us attending the appointment every year.

Any novelties in this third edition?
José Mª Penco:
The bases of EVOOLEUM were the result of many months of hard work; we wanted to take care of all the details and not leave anything to chance, and we believe that we have achieved it, which is why the essence of the contest continues to be the same: rigor, guarantee and transparency. Regarding the novelties, this year we will offer an extra service: the University of Córdoba will determine the total and partial polyphenols of all the samples selected by pioneering techniques, results that will be communicated to the producers, thanks to the agreement between AEMO and the UCO in the framework of the European project ARISTOIL.
Juan A. Peñamil: In addition to the novelties of the contest itself, we have launched a new web of EVOOLEUM, much more modern, attractive and dynamic, where we present each of the 100 EVOOs that make up our TOP100, classified by country and by category -without missing the winners of the EVOOLEUM Packaging Awards-. It also contains all the information about the EVOOLEUM World's TOP100 Extra Virgin Olive Oils Guide or our app, which is getting great success -almost 4,000 downloads in just three months- placing itself as the "EVOO app".

Why should a company, association and/or extra virgin olive oil producer register in this third edition of the EVOOLEUM AWARDS?
José Mª Penco:
We think that a high-quality EVOO producer should opt to be part of the EVOOLEUM selection because this competition has become an international reference in the olive sector. To be in EVOOLEUM is to seek each year that your EVOO is among the 100 best in the world, it means to appear in a Guide that is consulted every campaign by professionals and consumers from all over the planet.

Published annually in English and Spanish by Mercacei, what distribution will the third edition of the EVOOLEUM World's TOP100 Extra Virgin Olive Oils Guide have at national and international level and what are the planned actions for its promotion and/or dissemination? In which events and fairs will it be present?
Juan A. Peñamil:
In addition to the consumer who is interested in the world of extra virgin olive oil, the EVOOLEUM Guide is directly distributed to more than 5,000 operators in the sector, including 1,500 Michelin-star restaurants worldwide, gourmet and delicatessen shops and the most renowed importers, distributors and marketers of EVOO. All of this supposes a great economic and logistical effort -superior to 60,000 euros- that we assume from the organization of EVOOLEUM so that the Guide can reach every corner of the world and generate a real extra virgin culture.
It can also be purchased at qualitative points of sale such as thematic extra virgin stores, bookstores and large stores specializing in publishing products, as well as on the websites of EVOOLEUM and Mercacei. On the other hand, the Guide will be present at fairs such as the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows (San Francisco and New York, USA), Foodex Japan (Tokyo, Japan), Biofach (Nüremberg, Germany), Specialty & Fine Food Fair (London, United Kingdom), Alimentaria (Barcelona, ​​Spain), Olio Officina Festival (Milan, Italy) or SOL & Agrifood (Verona, Italy).
This year we have anticipated more than two months its release, in what has been a great editorial effort, so that its journey can be even greater. With a modern and impressive design and aesthetics, we speak of a pioneering and unique product that is made possible year after year thanks to the support of our sponsors, to whom we want to thank for offering us their trust and involvement in the project from the beginning.

The registration period for the contest expires on February 20. How many companies have signed up to date and what are the forecasts in this final stretch?
José Mª Penco:
We are pleasantly surprised with the high rate of entries in this edition. As we expected, this pace is accelerating as the deadline approaches. In addition to the samples received from Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Chile or France, we are receiving others from new countries such as the United States, Japan or South Africa. Each edition has oils from a greater number of countries and, what is more important, the best oils in the world are present, which is essential when we intend to show the world the EVOOLEUM TOP100.

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