UC Davis Olive Center expects a bright future of growth and innovation for the olive oil sector

UC Davis Olive Center expects a bright future of growth and innovation for the olive oil sector

2018/22/01 - The UC Davis Olive Center celebrates its 10th anniversary. We speak to Dan Flynn, Executive Director of this world-renowned center that brings together nearly 60 UC faculty members, research specialists and farm advisor, about this decade of changes, not only for UC Davis but for the olive oil sector worldwide.

Over the last decade the UC Davis Olive Center has become an essential reference in the olive oil sector in the United States. With the aim of pursuing innovation, provide services and pushing the tipping point, this institution providess independent, research-based information to professional buyers and regulators to promote consumer embrace of quality, offers best practices, university resources, and “must-attend” educational events and educates and promotes the consumption of olive oil.

Since its founding in 2008, the center has delivered more than $5 million in research and campus resources while supporting itself through product sales, course revenue, research grants, and donations.

We speak to Dan Flynn, its Executive Director, in this crucial year for UC Davis Olive Center, when it celebrates its 10th Anniversary.

How would you describe these last ten years at UC Davis Olive Center?
Exciting, fulfilling and challenging. We are happy to have had a major impact internationally and to provide a strong academic resource in the United States.

Has the olive sector changed and evolved in this last decade?
The California olive oil sector has doubled in size and has developed a reputation for high quality. The table olive sector has not experienced the same growth but continues to set a superior benchmark for quality.

Which projects carried out in your center during these years would you highlight?
We have presented more than 50 short courses, which have helped most California growers and processors produce higher quality oils at greater efficiency.
We have carried out more than 150 research projects, including:

  • Our reports on olive oil methods and quality led to strong standards for California producers and a healthy debate about quality worldwide.
  • We facilitated the table olive and olive oil sectors to jointly fund research for the first time, which is helping to develop new strategies for the prevention and treatment of olive knot.
  • We are conducting trials with a processor that is developing methods to achieve higher quality and extraction.

What do you still miss in the olive oil sector worldwide?
We need faster, better and cheaper methods to analyze olive oil.

Have you seen an evolution on the olive oil consumer? Does he know extra virgin olive oil and demand it?
Yes, in the past 10 years we have seen that more consumers understand the value of freshness in extra virgin olive oil and are willing to pay more to get better quality.

How do you see the future of this sector?
Continued growth and innovation, with more consumer awareness of olive oil’s health benefits. The future looks bright.

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