Tasted Tested & True

Aristoleo Awards 2018

March 25 2018


I met a Greek olive oil producer at the FOODEXPO last week who suggested we should not be promoting highest phenolic olive oils because the taste is too strong.  Certain olive oil producers still insist on following the common thinking of the olive oil industry that demeans the best olive oils in the world as unpalatable. So I jokingly replied laughing: “I am not promoting it as olive oil in America; I tell Americans to think of it as Hot sauce! I urge them to pour it on their steak, their mashed potatoes, hot dogs, and french fries.”

When I went home later that night I did a quick search and then realized the joke is on the olive oil industry and specifically on the Greek olive oil companies that have failed to gain a significant market share for their superior health promoting extra virgin olive oil in North America.

Instead of making their own path to success built on the health benefits of phenolic compounds,  they choose to follow the tired old olive oil industry instead of leading the way.

But there is another group of young energetic, passionate and well educated olive oil producers in Greece and Cyprus that like their ancestors before them choose health above all. They are leading the world into a new category of high phenolic olive oil being recognized by researchers as the most health promoting and health protective of them all… it may soon be proven to have some therapeutic benefit as well… human clinical trials are underway using high phenolic EVOOs, for the treatment of certain cancers, heart disease, and even Alzheimer.  

This fact is Americans do not like rancid or mild tasting olive oils  – Americans consume more hot sauce than olive oil. Why? Because they like spicy food – if they had a chance to taste it they would love high phenolic peppery tasting Hellenic and Cypriot extra virgin olive oils – but these type of olive oils are being denigrated by the olive oil competitions and not gaining entry to the US market via the olive oil competitions such as the NYIOOC. High phenolic olive oil’s peppery and bitter taste is recognized by researchers for its health benefits to the point of being referred to as a “medical food” against Alzheimer in a recent research report. https://aristoleo.com/oleocanthal-rich-extra-virgin-olive-oil-medical-food/

Meanwhile the sales of hot sauce keep rising:


Hot sauce sales are expected to hit $1.37 billion this year in this U.S. up 4.5% from $1.31 billion in 2016, according to the market research firm IBIS World. The firm predicts they are headed to a $1.65-billion market in the next five years.

Olive oil sales in the US were 1.275 billion in 2016 a bit less than sales of hot sauce! The demand for extra virgin olive oil in the US is rising. High phenolic EVOO represents a very tiny percentage of sales right now but is set to grow rapidly as the health conscious segment of the market is better educated about the enhanced health benefits. High phenolic EVOOs have room for grow and represent a grand opportunity for small independent olive growers dedicated to producing this type of high phenolic EVOO. 


The humongous olive oil industry ruled by Spain and Italy for decades would have you believe that Americans prefer mild tasting even rancid olive oils. Why? Because this is what the humongous olive oil industry has been shoving down their throats for decades. Rancid and lower quality olive oils are big business. Now that American consumers are waking up to the taste of real olive oil these same group of humongous olive oil companies are pushing the idea it’s the aroma in olive oil that is the sign of high quality.

International competitions regularly disqualify up to 65% of the entries as having defects. The most well known and self admitted culprit of this practice is none other than NYIOOC. As reported by Kostas Liris in a recent interview 65% of the Greek olive oils entered were disqualified. Mr. Curtis Cord founder of NYIOOC and oliveoiltimes.com claims that an overall average 49% of all olive oils entered are deemed to have defects and are disqualified.


It seems like the NYIOOC wants to be the gate keeper to olive oil entering the US. Mr. Kostas Liris in an interview promoted the idea that NYIOOC is the passport to success for entering the US market. NO IT IS NOT! The passport to success in olive oil sales in North America is high phenolic EVVOs because of their enhanced health benefits!

The passport to success is to educate the American public that Greek olive varieties produce high phenolic olives oils that are the healthiest because of the high concentrations of phenolic compounds…  

“The health benefits of olive oil are 99 percent related to the presence of the phenolic compounds, not the oil itself,” says Nasir Malik, research plant physiologist at the U.S. Agriculture Department’s


FACT: It is very easy to add flavor and aroma to olive oils but impossible to do add phenolic compounds such as anti inflammatory and peppery tasting oleocanthal. The true measure of a high quality olive oil is the phenolic content NOT the flavor. 

Greece is known for its extremely healthy high phenolic olive oils with a long and glorious history of producing the highest quality of health promoting olive oils. But is now being presented as producing 65% defective olive oils by Curtis Cord and Mr. Kostas Liris at the NYIOOC?

TRANSLATED FROM GREEK:  “Everyone in Greece thinks they know good oil, but in fact Greek olive oil has been left behind in terms of the quality that the Italians and the Spanish have achieved.” It is indicative that 131 olive oil was submitted to the competition from Greece, but only 46 met the necessary and measurable conditions to qualify as quality olive oil …”

Mr Liris was very kind the way he described it but Mr. Curtis Cord says it more bluntly he calls them defective: “Overall, 49 percent of the total number of EVOOs submitted to the NYIOOC were rejected as having defects — roughly the same results as in 2014 and 2013.” Defects are the red cards in organoleptic judging. You are immediately thrown out of the game.” I wrote this article that was published by Mr. Curtis Cord on oliveoiltimes website. I was wrong to believe the “NYIOOC is the passport to success for olive oils entering the US market:  https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-making-and-milling/evoo-awards-stir-competitive-spirit-in-greece/47822

Greek olive oils that enter the NYIOOC are vigorously tested before they are sent. They pass all IOC organoleptic standards and all the chemical analysis and yet 65% are deemed to be defective at the NYIOOC? why would anyone pay over $500 to enter and send defective olive oils?

This is one of the reasons the EU is supporting the efforts of olive growers in Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Italy and Croatia that have embraced the new category of high phenolic extra virgin olive oil. It all began with the EU 432/2012 health claim for polyphenols allowed on the label by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). ARISTOIL Interreg MED programme is a 3 year 5 country study to enhance the competitiveness of med area olive oil producers by producing olive oils that conform and exceed the new high phenolic standard of excellence. https://aristoil.interreg-med.eu/ Aristoleo Ltd is one of the partners representing Cyprus in developing new handheld analytical tools to measure phenolic content and study the agronomic factors that increase the phenolic content of extra virgin olive oil. https://medium.com/beyond-organic-beyond-extra-virgin/beyond-organic-beyond-extra-virgin-49a824cda894

Here  are some of the best and highest phenolic EVOOs discovered by Aristoleo Awards – the only olive oil competition in the world that not only offers every entrant a certified organoleptic analysis but also measures the phenolic concentrations using the state-of-the-art Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to award the prizes… scientifically speaking… its hot

UPDATED March 26 2017

Athan Gadanidis

Contact the author: aristoleo.com@gmail.com