The 60th annual Summer Fancy Foods Show is underway at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, bringing together gourmet chefs, specialty food producers and buyers from around the world.
The event is widely considered one of the most important of its kind, having introduced the world to household names like Perrier, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Terra Chips over the years. This year over 2,500 exhibitors were present.
Often overshadowed by their counterparts in Italy, Spain and the U.S., olive oil producers from countries like Chile and Uruguay took the opportunity to share their products with the highly discerning crowd in hopes of cracking into the U.S. market, the world’s largest for olive oil.
Uruguay was represented this year by five producers in collaboration with the Uruguay Olive Oil Association (ASOLUR). Following a strategy implemented in recent years, these producers emphasized quality over quantity in hopes of distinguishing themselves from the more established names in the industry.
“Our commitment to quality is what sets us apart. We still use traditional methods, picking the fruit one by one, processing four or five hours after harvest and following all the proper labeling standards,” said Efe Darwin Marigliani of De La Sierra.
“We’re never going to produce a cheap oil. We’re not into that and we don’t have the scale. What we can produce are very good oils with an excellent value for the money,” added Alejandro Echevarría of Finca Babieca.
Chilean olive oil producers also made the trip to the Fancy Food Show this year, hoping to further solidify their place as Latin America’s top olive oil exporter to the United States.
“Chile has emerged as one of the most important stakeholders in the food industry worldwide, hoping to be among the top 10 exporters in this sector by 2020 and also to establish itself as one of the few countries in the world where the food sector has a high share of GDP,” said Pedro Pablo Aresti, Trade Commissioner of Chile.
The event also featured, in addition to numerous tastings by the individual exhibitors, an olive oil seminar entitled “Understanding Olive Oil” lead by Eryn Balch, of the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), and Jean-Louis Barjol, executive director of the International Olive Council (IOC).