1.1 Definition and scope of study
The olive is a Mediterranean fruit, which can be consumed in a variety of ways: as a condiment, as a snack, or pressed to produce olive oil.
Olives are not edible immediately after harvesting; the ones we eat are obtained by processing the fruit to make it softer and less bitter. This treatment usually involves macerating them in cold water, then boiling and finally resting them for months in a brine composed of salt water and sometimes even herbs. Another possibility is to replace this last phase with the conservation of the oil. The oil is obtained by crushing fresh fruit, then filtering, centrifuging and heating (or not) the paste to extract the oil. There are several industrial processes for oil extraction, the main ones are cold extraction (which results in the best quality), continuous extraction or integral method. Olive oil is one of the main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, known as the Cretan diet and it is also used for cosmetics.
According to a survey by the IOC (International Olive Oil Council), Brazil exported 61,900 tons of olive oil between October 2018 and May 2019, an increase of 14% compared to the same period between 2017 and 2018. The only countries that showed a faster growth were Japan, with 23% increase, and China (15%). The increase in consumption is greatly credited to recent growth in population awareness of the health benefits of olive oil, such as combating disease, cholesterol and weight loss. Consequently, there has been an increase in the variety of foreign brands of olive oil in the Brazilian market lately, making the market more dynamic and more competitive, as there is still great potential for growth in the coming years. [Brazilian Association of Olive Oil Producers, Importers and Traders]
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