New Crop Rising

By Don Griego on

Over the next few weeks, you will hear and read a lot about the new crop in Spain. One thing for certain, it will NOT be anywhere near last year’s historic crop (perhaps the quietest historic event). The important question will be HOW MUCH will it actually be?  You will get opinions as early as SIAL to the size; from less than half the size (860 k tons) of 2014 to 1 million tons. Please keep in mind, at this time last year predictions were 1.1 million for the 2014 crop, and these predictions were only off by 50 % when it reached over 1.7 Million tons.

Here are the questions that we all will need answers to in order to make important decisions and forecasts for the upcoming crop.

  1. What will third countries be able to add to the overall  world production?
  2. Will other EU countries’ production be enough to meet more of their own country’s     consumption needs?
  3. Will the third country’s production outside EU be able to meet your particular variety needs for you to take advantage of a place to purchase besides Spain?
  4. Will the third countries be able to meet your specifications of the products you purchased?
  5. Will the Export company’s in third countries meet the new FSMA / SQF regulations so to insure proper supply chain integrity for you and your customers?

So, although I am of the opinion that there should be enough oil to have a stable market, there are quite a few hurdles that need to be cleared to accomplish a stable market. Working with reliable partners and suppliers will be the KEY to having a balanced and easy purchasing program in 2015.

SIAL is right around the corner. It will be at a great time to get a full picture of what is occurring in the early stages of the crop. I will be trying to BLOG from Paris as interesting facts become available.


The CDFA has granted the OOCC new California Olive Oil Standards.  Please see attached fact sheets.  Here is my take on this piece of news. The so called standards are in some cases a tad stronger than international standards, mostly on parameters on fruit condition, processing and oxidation.  These sheets will give you some perspective from retail and foodservice buyer’s desk. 



From a Bulk Purchasing Point of View –

  1. It is good they tightened the FFA parameter to .05 %, from a manufacturer point of view, that really does not do a lot for the consistent quality that you need month in and month out. AMD can certainly get to that level, it might cost a tad more, but it is easily done. Just advise us that your requirements are now lower.
  2. Peroxide Value – AMD has had a max. 10 limit for some time, and only deviate late in season deliveries.
  3. K232 – Going down from <= 2.50, to <-2.40 is not making any material difference to our distribution.
  4. The DAG and PPP… the jury is still out on this science. AMD has been testing for these since the start of the 2014 crop. We will have no problem with these parameters.

So much for the improvements to current specifications in marketplace. Here are some things for you to consider when reading about Californian’s new standards.

A.  The rules only apply to growers/handlers of 5,000 gallons or more. So NOT all          California extra virgin producers will have to follow these new rules. So it is possible to get a price from one producer/handler and they will or could have completely different parameters from each other. Good Luck with differentiating between suppliers. I am guessing only the producers/handlers of over 5,000 gallons will now have the REAL extra virgin.

B.  In the UC Davis Study- which was funded by the California Industry, the major criticism of the imported product was that on the samples taken from retail shelf, 60 some odd percent did not meet the above parameters. The limits used on the test was;

                                  PPP Limit <= 15   DAG >= 40 at sample off retail shelf 

     New Regulations are now tested BEFORE bottling to:

                                    PPP Limit <=17 DAG >=35 BEFORE BOTTLING 

     So the major complaint from the industry was that imported oil was not fresh and oil did not meet these specifications when samples were taken off retail shelf, HOWEVER, they did not want to hold themselves to the same parameters the study proclaimed was a major issue with imported oils. I do not know, maybe it’s me, but that does not seem to be consistent with moving quality assurance forward.

C.  In the regulations, the need for purity and authenticity testing is nowhere in the new regulations. We have importing olive oil for over 30 years. Our main focus was to insure the oil was authentic and not adulterated. These new standards do NOTHING to address the issue, to AMD leads our quality control program combating adulteration. Now, to be clear, some of the criticism on the freshness of imported oil was something to be discussed. However, not including purity testing is disingenuous on its face.

D.  Why would an industry that does not even produce, to my knowledge, oil in the refined and pomace olive oil category, have new labeling regulations about them?  The answer is fairly obvious and self-explanatory.

E.  The standards rely heavily on taste testing. We can have a serious debate about the pros and cons of Taste Panels. But how does an industry rely heavily on this process and currently there is NOT ONE IOC Certified Lab in US at this time. We are assuming that there will be OOCC Certified Labs popping up in California. Taste Testing is far from a science and, as stated, we can discuss the inconsistencies that could develop unless there are multiple Certified Taste Panels.

If you want more information on this topic, please feel free to call us to discuss.


It looks like from a numbers point of view, the US economy seems to be moving slowly in the right direction. Certainly the stock market and Wall Street are doing quite well. If we use the REAGAN philosophy of “Are you better off now than you were 4/6 years ago? ” I think that Wall Street and people invested heavily in the stock market will have to say a resounding YES WE ARE. One might even say they are at the top of the world in terms of results.  Does that mean people on Main Street can answer the question in the same manner?  Until we figure out how to stimulate what Main Street thinks and they can answer that question YES WE ARE, we have a lot of work to do. If we are able to do that, the economy on the whole can be GREAT for the majority of our citizens.


EXTRA VIRGIN: Coverage is recommended until new crop shipments arrive here in US. Prices will come off when new oil is available. The issue is most large buyers are short and they will be looking for early price declines to get in front of the early shipments. That may cause stability in the market and keep prices from going down during the early stages. However, even if that occurs, one should look for a price decline in January once the pipeline is full.

ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN: Too early to determine new crop figures on ORGANIC EV. it looks to me, as I look into my crystal ball, that booking a good portion of your requirements on this item will make sense once prices settle in.

REFINED/PURE: Since I was completely wrong from July forward, in the last newsletter, we were still a little unsure. But September sort of renewed what my “gut” was thinking. Speculators are now dumping some of their unsold positions. Which is forcing most of the industry to sell refined a much lower levels than EV, and the crop was dramatic in September. So if you waited, you DID GOOD.

POMACE: We said pomace did not spike like EV and refined, there is still enough raw crude oil around to keep market stable. Come new crop, third countries will have ample supply of crude.  So month to month is still a good recommendation for buying strategy.

***** All these suggestions are based on a stable Euro**** we have instruments in place to keep the currency stable with the flexibility to take advantage of a stronger dollar.


Is this the break downward that has been expected for some years now? It certainly weakened in September. Trends for October seem to be following this trend as well.

AVERAGE                  1.291

HIGH                          1.315

LOW                           1.266


This is a critical time if you purchase olive oil. The first important information will come out of the meeting at SIAL – October 19-22. We will try and BLOG from there to get real time updates.