• We collaborate with producers and distributors

    We collaborate with producers and distributors

  • We guarantee transparency in order to recognise quality

    We guarantee transparency in order to recognise quality

  • We comply with more restrictive sensory and chemical parameters

    We comply with more restrictive sensory and chemical parameters

  • We collaborate with the scientific community

    We collaborate with the scientific community

  • We help consumers choose discerningly

    We help consumers choose discerningly

polyphenols, and volatile substances too!

Virgin olive oil is appreciated all over the world both for its health benefits and for its organoleptic properties. Numerous studies have been carried out to evaluate the influence of the sensory factors, such as appearance, smell and taste, on how the product is perceived by the consumer. In particular, studies on the role of the perception of bitterness in the definition of how pleasant an olive oil is have demonstrated that oils with a low or moderate level of bitternessare more acceptable to the consumer, while those with a high level of bitter notes in the flavour are refused.

It is clear from this that "bitterness" as a characteristic can be considered a determining factor in the acceptability of the oil. Studies on the sensory profile of olive oil have shown a relationship between the perceived intensity of "bitter" notes and the intensity of the perception of "green" as a descriptor, such as "green olive" or "cut grass".“Green” as asensation is commonly used to describe the sensory properties of virgin olive oil and is positively linked to the acceptability of the product. The nature of this relationship has never been studied, although research has shown that odours can either suppress, increase, or have no effect on taste.

Recent research examined a model olive oil to study the relationship between the perception of the bitter taste of the oil with the smell of "cut grass". This study involved the evaluation of the influence of the smell of "cut grass" on the intensity of the perception of bitterness in the oil and the pleasantness of the oil itself. The results obtained indicated that both the duration and the intensity of the perception of bitterness in an oil is positively affected by the smell of "grass". The perception of bitterness is linked to the presence of complex phenolic compounds, which are not only important for the organoleptic and nutritional qualities of the oil but also for the conservation of the product over time.

This lowacceptability of "bitterness"as a characteristic of oil has, to date, made producers restrictthe intensity of the bitter notes by selecting raw materials carefully (olives with a lower amount of phenolic compounds), by changing the extraction processes and blending oils from different olive varieties. Market-oriented production strategies became necessary to control the intensity of the bitternessin virgin olive oil, in particular during the blending phase.

The results of this study make it clear that the intensity in the flavour of olive oil could be due not only to phenolic substances but also to volatile elements related to olive varieties, agronomic practices, the stage of maturity at pressing, the crushing and grinding technologies employed. There are, therefore, wide margins for the improvement of the quality of some products that currently struggle to find a place in national and international markets due to the imbalances present.

References: G. Caporale, S. Policastro, E. Monteleone. Bitterness enhancement induced by cut grass odorant (cis-3-hexen-1-ol) in a model olive oil. Food Quality and Preference 15 (2004) 219-227. (sciencedirect.com, elsevier.com).

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