The Spanish University of Jaén organises the first International Awards that will assess the healthy benefits and flavour of olive oils in respond to Nutriscore assessment
In response to the Nutriscore polemic regarding olive oil assessment under the category “C”, the 'Center for Advanced Studies in Olive Groves and Olive Oils' of the University of Jaén (UJA), with the collaboration of the companies Genosa, Tetra Pak, Alfa Laval and the leading olive oil company Deoleo will organise the First International ́Health and Flavour Awards ́ (H&F) 2021.
The Nutriscore nutritional assessment and classification system covers a range of foods from green to red and from letter A to E, being evaluated by its content per 100 g or 100 ml, with A being the one that reports the highest value nutritional and E, the worst.
This controversial nutritional algorithm is causing an inappropriate and confusing classification for the consumer by not differentiating olive oil from other oils and even other processed foods. This system values olive oil with the letter C and yellow punctuation, that is, far from the A and green colour. The evaluations of this algorithmic system have been well received in some countries, but it has generated doubts in many others who have been dissatisfied when considering that they seriously harm several foods of the Mediterranean Diet, skewing their true nutritional value.
These Awards will value for the first time those oils that demonstrate both the best organoleptical qualities and the minimum level of phenolic compounds required by European regulation EC 1924/2006. Olive oils containing more than 250 ppm of olive polyphenols provide healthy benefits on one of the main risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, the LDL cholesterol oxidation.
These Awards will follow a strict protocol and will have tasters of recognised international solvency chosen by the ‘Center for Advanced Studies in Olive Groves and Olive Oils’ of the UJA. The Spanish official Fat Institute will be the one who certifies the levels of phenolic compounds that candidates must demonstrate in order to be able to be evaluated by the panel of tasters.
The Awards will only accept oils from the 21/22 campaign from anywhere in the world and its delivery will take place on December 14, 2021. Jaen is the largest olive oil producer province worldwide with almost 50% of total Spanish production and approx. 20% globally.
For the University Professor of the Chemical Engineering Area, Sebastián Sánchez Villasclaras, “this international competition, with different objectives to the sensory quality awards already established, aims to carry out a joint assessment of the antioxidant capacity and the sensory characteristics of the extra virgin olive oils, with a special impact on those oils produced in early harvest. In this sense, this award tries to relate the healthy effects and the organoleptic characteristics of extra virgin olive oils”.,/p>
Genosa CEO, Carlos Peña, indicates that “the innovation and effort of the farmers will allow consumers to take advantage of all the benefits provided by extra virgin olive oil with the corresponding content of phenolic compounds. There are many clinical studies that have shown the tremendous benefits that these compounds provide. This Award is a magnificent initiative”.
For his part, José Luis Ruiz-Tagle, Director of Business Development at Tetra Pak believes that “this Award reinforces the need to use a container and packaging process that protects olive oil from oxidation to light and sunlight at the highest level. air, since olive oil is one of the most sensitive foods that exist to oxidation. In this way the extra virgin olive oil can preserve the healthy benefits. Consumers have to be aware of these benefits through the messages that brands make on the packages, and Tetra Pak packages allow 360o communication on their packages”.
The General Director of Alfa Laval Iberia, Javier Ortiz, highlights that “we have a clear strategy focused on the development of new technologies that help to preserve the polyphenols in the olive oil extraction process as much as possible. those producers who struggle to obtain a healthier and higher quality product are valued ”.
Paula Lopes, Chief Quality Officer of Deoleo said: “we celebrate and support the birth of initiatives like this one, which contribute to reinforcing Andalusia's position as the world's leading olive oil production region. It is a great opportunity to value one of the products most closely linked to the Spanish tradition and to bring olive oil to the position that it deserves, due to its excellent levels of quality and healthy properties”.