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To educate consumers about olive oil, IOA organises panel discussion
Tuesday, 17 December, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
A session titled Olive Oil in India 2.0 was the highlight of the Indian Olive Association’s (IOA) Annual Public Session 2019, which took place in New Delhi recently, and was aimed at educating consumers about olive oil and its benefits, providing information about other variants such as Virgin Olive Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pomace Olive Oil, etc. with a neutral taste, and informing people about olive oil’s versatility and how it is suitable for Indian cooking as it could be used for cooking in high heat and frying.

The association’s president, Rahul Upadhyay, and vice-president, Akshay Modi, organised the panel discussion to speak of the ascending graph of the product, which made it from being a gourmet oil to becoming a regular in the Indian kitchen. The platform brought together experts from across the globe under one roof to discuss the eventual reach of olive oil and to encourage its growth in the country.

The session was led by senior food and travel writer, Rupali Dean, who discussed the value that olive oil added to the lives of people seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Other panellists included renowned restaurateurs, chefs, nutritionists, food researchers and biologists, entrepreneurs, retailers, food and health and fitness experts, including chef Neeraj Tyagi, director, culinary, Pullman and Novotel New Delhi, Aerocity; Neha Deepak Shah, food entrepreneur and technologist; Sangeeta Khanna, botanist and research specialist and others.

Chef Davinder Kumar, vice-president, F&B production, Hotel Le Meridien New Delhi, and president, Indian Culinary Forum, was the chief guest for the event, at which ambassadors and counsellors of exporting countries such as Spain, Turkey and Tunisia were also present.

With prominent names stepping on the stage, and acknowledging the importance of the oil which is now serving everyone equally, as it became accessible to all under affordable prices, the event orbited around the significance of the product and the need to inculcate it in daily routine to promote a fitter and healthier lifestyle.

The panel emphasised on the health benefits associated with olive oil and why there was a need to switch from regular oil to olive oil, and how the olive oil industry had grown manifold in the Indian ecosystem, acting as a catalyst for a holistic lifestyle.

Highlighting the agenda of Annual Public Session 2019, Upadhyay said, “IOA intends to encourage the consumption of olive oil by promoting a healthier way to live. The Annual Public Session addresses the emerging industry of olive oil and endeavours to gather the maestros under one roof to discuss and resolve any concerns that obstruct the sector from growing.”

The session addressed common consumer barriers and promoted the utility of olive oil. The panellists also talked about how some variants of the olive oils were absorbed upto 20 per cent lesser than the others oils, leading to less overall consumption and being cost-efficient for people. Being worthy of their value, olive oils are a small price to pay for a better and healthier lifestyle, promoting comprehensive wellness.

Modi said, “People often carry the misconception of olive oil being a luxury or that it is not suited to Indian food, which stands invalid, considering the fact that the oil has found a place in several Indian kitchens.”

“With the panel discussion, we conveyed a message of the product being accessible and affordable for all. With the event concluding fruitfully, we hope that we are able to catalyse the growth of the olive oil industry and cater to every family with a healthier, fitter lifestyle,” he added.

IOA, the apex body for olive oil in India, is affiliating with olive oil producers, growers, distributors, importers, users and consumers in India. It aims to encourage people to opt for the healthier choice as they choose olive oil for a fitter lifestyle.

Acknowledging the issues concerning the sector and working towards resolving them, IOA, with multiple authorities, takes up macro-economic factors like GST (Goods and Services Tax), import duty and concerns with respect to the import of both table olives and olive oil to streamline the import process and ensure consistent development of the emerging sector.

The association consistently disperses data on significant aspects. These, for instance, include growth trends in olive oil, trade statistics, essential government notifications, food standard parameters, mandatory packaging and labelling laws, amongst others, through its quarterly bulletin.

Maintaining the global standards for quality and labelling, the association strives to establish procedures to assure the best practices for labelling and quality for the various types of olives and olive oil and protect the interests of the consumer.
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