Better than bitter for olives

April 28 2004

The local olive market is thriving, with a 10% growth in demand each year for table olives, and 20% annually for oil.

South African consume some 3000 tons of table olives and some 700 tons of olive oil annually. Approximately 40% of local production are sold as table olives, with the balance processed into olive oil.

The industry is almost 80 years old and experienced substantial growth in the 1990s as consumers became increasingly aware of the health benefits of olive consumption.

One company active in one of the Western Cape ‘s fastest growing agricultural industries is the Olive Grove. The Olive Grove processes and produces a variety of olive oils and olive-related products. According to Jan-Paul Lugt, managing director of The Olive Grove, the demand for South African olives and olive products, such as oil, has never been higher.

“The increase in demand has led to a substantial increase in the quality of local olives over the past few years,” he says.

“Customer demand for olives and olive oil has increased due to the excellent health-enhancing qualities of olives,” says Carol Costa of the ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij research centre in Stellenbosch. “The non-fat substances in cold-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as phenols and Vitamin E, have beneficial anti-oxidative properties, which play a role in prevention of ageing and cancers. ”

Olive oil also plays a role in regulating blood pressure, maintenance of bone structure and blood sugar levels as well as being good for your skin.

The Olive Grove sources its olives from olive farms based in the Wellington and Paarl regions, while most bottling takes place in the Stellenbosch area. All ingredients are produced locally, including materials such as bottles, labels, and lids used during the production process.

“The Olive Grove company produces quality products from a local resource providing employment opportunities. This makes Olive Grove an ideal member,” says Martin Feinstein, chief executive of the Proudly South African campaign. “Furthermore, South African consumers need to understand the importance of buying South African goods in order to boost the economy.”

Source: Proudly SA