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Becoming an expert in olive oil is not an easy task, since the olive oil industry is made up of a multitude of areas or variables, all of them different but closely related to each other.
Let us bear in mind that the olive oil culture dates from time immemorial, the most solid writings being able to date back to the 1st century AD with Lucius Columela. This means that the olive tree and olive oil are in the world as one of the oldest and healthiest foods.
Since its inception, it was used as food and fuel for lighting lamps or as a tonic for human skin. In parallel to all these uses, the religious component of olive oil has also been of great importance since ancient times. Between 6,000-5,000 BC when the Phoenicians began to domesticate and adapt the wild olive tree to cultivation, they could not imagine the current size that this plant would reach, much less the development of the current olive sector.
Selling olive oil at the moment has become a business model highly desired by different actors. From individuals, freelancers who have an olive grove and want to increase the profitability and quality of their olives, to marketers who only want to pack under their own brand, to large investment groups who want to increase their capital.
On the other hand, owners of gastronomy shops or oil libraries wish to specialize in the culture of olive oil, given that we are talking about one of the healthiest fats in the world and that it is currently in an “awakening” phase.
Being an olive oil expert requires training not only in the classification and quality of olive oil, but you also need a global and generic knowledge of all the areas that are part of the olive oil sector.
Let's see the most important steps to become an expert Olive Oil Consultant.
The first step is to become aware of the dimension that the entire olive sector reaches.
The second step, in conjunction with the first, is to train on all the areas that make up the olive oil industry. It is not about being an expert in everything but having notions and understanding everything that affects the olive oil sector.
Identify the core training on which you have to focus your knowledge.
- The olive oil tasting will help you to know what product you have in hand and what category of oil you are am going to work with, this is undoubtedly essential in the olive oil business.
- The elaboration of olive oil will help you to better understand the tasting and it will help you to select with which mills or cooperatives you ara going to want to work and with which not.
- Export and commercialization as well as marketing will be a key piece that you will have to master in order to have guarantees in the business model related to olive oil that I consider.
We have talked about the core training that you need to become an expert in olive oil, and now we will talk about the other subjects that, not being core, are part of all the knowledge that is important to have to become part of the market olive oil. We are talking about gastronomy, oleotourism and price control. These three issues certainly cannot go unnoticed if you want to become olive oil consultant.
Know the sector. Once you have been trained, you have to know who are the most relevant institutional agents in the sector. Both at a public and private level, knowing which are the institutions that set the behavioral guidelines of the olive industry will help you to be able to get closer to them and know what their movements are so that you can act accordingly.
Contact oil mills and cooperatives
Once you have been trained and know the industry, you will go to the oil mills and cooperatives that you have near your place of residence, if there are any, as well as the most representative oil mills and cooperatives. At this point you can either contact your ESAO campus training tutor, or you can contact ESAO and they will provide you with a list according to your preferences and goals.
Approaching and visiting interesting olive oil mills and cooperatives will allow you to assimilate all the previous previous training, it will help you to establish the knowledge and to have an overview as a good expert in olive oil that you want to become. Talking with the managers or owners will give you a very enriching overview, at the same time that it will facilitate possible subsequent synergies.
Go from less to more
It will be time to put all your knowledge into practice. The time has come to analyze all the information and all the data that you have been collecting, and see which path you decide to follow. Whether you want to advise third parties or run a specific company more professionally, you will start with small decisions and projects without too much scope to see how you handle yourself and to acquire more security. This, without a doubt, is the step of the olive oil expert, to begin to put into practice all the knowledge acquired in the previous 6 steps.
A true expert olive consultant will be a good professional, when endowed with experience and track record. Dedicating hours and working in the olive sector will help you to understand the sector, getting to know it and knowing what its idiosyncrasies are, what its weaknesses are and what its strengths are.
Growing at the professional level with olive oil will allow you to see how each campaign is different and influenced, not only by the olive grove and its price according to supply and demand, but by the legislation in force at that time as well as institutional movements that official organizations want to carry out.
At the same time, situations of social change as well as movements of the final consumer will tanner you and give you very valuable information to face your day to day as an expert in olive oil.
Meet the agents
For an olive oil consultant or expert to be rigorous and professional, take into account each of the influencing factors in the olive oil industry. Her vision will always have to go to the center of all issues to make solid decisions from there.
The point of view of a farmer, owner of an olive grove, will not be the same as an olive grove owner who is not a farmer. The point of view of a large cooperative or company that moves thousands of tons of olive oil is not the same as a small mill that works with high quality.
Associations and international organizations will not see the problems or complex situations of the olive sector from the same angle as the marketers or private producers who make a living from the olive oil they sell. Agricultural policies, as well as trade agreements between countries are realities that sometimes mark the events to which farmers and producers will be subjected in which their objective is to end the campaign with the winery as empty as possible or for their olive grove to be as empty as possible. profitable as possible, despite the fact that it is sometimes more expensive to maintain an olive grove than to abandon it.
The expert olive oil consultant may not take an obvious part in only one intervening agent, but must necessarily take into account all the parties.
All these issues are part of the reality of the olive oil sector, and we have to prepare ourselves to be part of it as true expert consultants of the olive oil industry and business.
Undoubtedly, all these steps will help us to face our work more successfully and will save us many erroneous or unnecessary investments due to lack of knowledge, training and experience.
As a definition, the olive oil consultant must have a clear objective: to add value to producers, oil mills, or cooperatives, as well as to oil mill technicians and masters, collaborating in the improvement and optimization of processes, organization and strategy of the olive business in question, and all this through innovative tools and all with a transversal vision of virgin olive oil.