Wikispanishfood.com editorial team
The Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español held the first edition of the Aceites de Oliva de España Gala in Madrid. The event, which coincided with the start of the olive harvest, included the presentation of the 2017 Aceites de Oliva de España Awards. According to the association's president, Pedro Barato, the awards aim to "recognize those people who have helped us, over the years and in one way or another, become indisputable global leaders."
This year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing, Food and the Environment (MAPAMA) and tennis star Rafa Nadal received the 2017 Aceites de Oliva de España Special Award, taking home a sculpture by Basque artist Igor Obeso Aguirre. According to Barato, their collaboration gave rise to the campaign entitled "Born in Spain. Admired around the world". The award was received by the head of the Ministry, Isabel García Tejerina, on behalf of MAPAMA, and by Nadal's representative, Juan José Almagro, a trustee with the Rafa Nadal Foundation.
The State Secretary for Commerce also received an award, specifically for internationalization, for efforts to promote Spain abroad through its general directorates, sub-directorates and the network of Spain's economic and commercial offices around the world. Rafael Sánchez de Puerta, Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español's secretary, noted that “without its contribution, it would have been very difficult if not impossible for Aceites de Oliva de España to have become the leader that it is." Director General for International Trade and Investment, José Luis Káiser Moreiras, collected the prize.
The PREDIMED Study received the 2017 Aceites de Oliva de España Award for R&D and Innovation. According to Sánchez de Puerta, the study was recognized "for its incredible contribution towards raising the profile of extra virgin olive oil as an essential component of the Mediterranean diet and as one of the healthiest foods, capable of helping prevent some of advanced society's most common ailments." The award also recognizes the enormous impact of the study's results all around the world. Ramón Estruch, who coordinated the study, received the award, which shines a light on the efforts of 19 research groups throughout Spain.
García Tejerina referred to the collaboration with Nadal as a resounding success: " 'The Born in Spain. Admired around the world' campaign raised awareness about our olive oils which, indubitably, helped increase exports. Our oils have always been viewed extremely positively, as they have been popular outside Spain for almost 20 centuries. We have always been, and we are currently, the world's top olive oil producer. In a globalized world like the current one, where consumers are increasingly interested in the relationship between food and health, it makes sense to focus in particular on raising awareness about the virtues of our olive oils."
More than 300 people attended the event, which was organized in collaboration with elEconomista. Attendees included many representatives from the olive oil industry and members of various regional governments and the economics sector. The host was journalist Beatriz Pérez Aranda, and sponsored included Caja Rural de Jaén, Caja Rural del Sur, Caja Rural de Granada, Caja Rural de Extremadura and Globalcaja; Deoleo; Pieralisi, Foro Interalimentario and the Andalusian government's Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Rural Development.