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Indian Olive Association to start major social media campaign to build consumer awareness

Thursday, January 9, 2020, 14:57 Hrs  [IST]

Indian Olive Association (IOA), the apex body of Olive producers, importers, distributors, etc., will be embarking on a major social media campaign to educate the consumer market and through that grow the market for olive and olive oil products. As the beginning of the exercise, IOA had invited key social media influencers, bloggers and writers to their Annual Public session 2019 held in Delhi recently.

"Now we are planning to focus on social media campaigns more. The traditional media is a passé now. Today is just the beginning," said Akshay Modi, Vice President of IOA on the sidelines of the Annual Public Session 2019.

Speakers and panellists at the Annual Public Session stressed on the need for more consumer education to improve the penetration of Olive into Indian households. "Although urban population use Olive oil a lot, there are still a lot of myths about Olive oil even today. There are tendencies to confuse quality with the colour of the product, etc.," said Modi.

In his welcome address, Rahul Upadhyay, President of IOA said that the imports of Olive Oil has grown four-fold in the last decade from 2700 tonnes to 12,500 tonnes and the coming decade promises to be exciting for Olive as a category because of the growing inclination of the consumers for healthy lifestyle. "Possibilities are endless for Olive in the country," he said.

In his presentation, Vishal Gupta, Managing Director, Borges said that the penetration of Olive oil in the overall edible oil category is point (.)5 % and therefore there is huge opportunity for growth. The growing urbanisation together with Indian middle class' appetite to experiment with new international cuisines, and growing inclination for healthy food options. While distribution was a major issue in the past, the proliferation of e-commerce has bridged that gap in distribution to a large extent in recent years, he said.

Tunisian Ambassador to India, Nejmeddine Lakhal who was present on the occasion said that Olive oil is something which every household must have considering its multiple usages. Tunisia, one of the top producers of Olive, has had record production last year, he said.

Chef Devender Kumar, Vice President F&B, Le Meridien New Delhi and President of Indian Culinary Forum (ICF) who was the Chief Guest on the occasion said that while hotels and restaurants used to sprinkle Olive Oil in the past, they are quite liberal today in using Olive irrespective of the cost factor.

In the panel discussion followed nutritionists, food researchers, chefs, food writers, etc. shared their views about Olive as a category and its utility in Indian scenario. Neha Deepak Shah, a Food Entrepreneur and Technologist said that Olive Oil spreads very fast compared to other edible oils and therefore requires lesser quantity for cooking. Sangeeta Khanna, Botanist & Research Specialist opined that while Indians are accepting and experimenting with lot of new cuisines other than Indian, Olive Oil can be part of it rather than promoting it as a replacement for traditional edible oils for Indian cuisines.

Dr Anjali Hooda, nutritionist, said that usage of Olive can help reduce the doctors bill. Olive Oil is a remedy for diabetics, cancer, autism, etc., she said. Chef Neeraj Tyagi, Executive Chef, Novotel and Pullman Aerocity, Delhi said that it is important to have proper understanding about the grading of Olive oils. It also depends on the ability of the chefs to use Olive innovatively in cuisines including Indian dishes, he added.

Rupali Dean, travel and food writer, moderated the panel discussion.

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