Absa Top 10 – A Message from our Sponsor

If you weren’t able to attend the Absa Top 10 Awards Luncheon, here is the message from our Sponsor by Diane Moor, Communications Manager Absa.

“Good afternoon everyone,

On behalf of the Managing Executive of Absa Western Cape, John Tshabalala, who unfortunately could not be with us today, I would like to welcome you to this wonderful occasion today. I‘m so excited – 10 extra virgin olive oils are going to be named the best of the best!  I can’t wait to hear the announcement; the tension is palpable. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

You may not know this, but Absa’s involvement with the SA Olive Association started off as a table of 10 guests at an awards dinner 6 years ago – the SA Olive awards. At the time we were already financial partner to many producers who are here today.  We were inspired by the possibility that a partnership with SA Olive could bring.

At Absa, we pursue what we call our Shared Growth strategy.   Shared Growth for us means that if a community prospers, we prosper. And one of the key pillars of Shared Growth is enterprise development. And when we select our key sponsorships this is what we keep in mind.  So we ask ourselves? Is the sponsorship based on sustainability? does it add commercial value? and can we contribute to consumer education? We just recently celebrated our 21-year partnership with the Pinotage Association and we are embarking on the 13th edition of our involvement with the Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike Race.  Both of these sponsorships deliver against these principles.

So, we saw how we could work, together with SA Olive, to further facilitate the growth and development of the olive oil industry. Because, in line with Shared Growth, if the olive oil producers prosper and the industry grows, there will be joint benefits for banking partners, like Absa to grow. And 5 years ago the idea was born to further recognise the excellence and quality of gold medal winners by creating the Absa Top 5 Awards.

So why the Absa Top 10 this year? Not only were more and more producers entering the SA Olive competition but a lot more olive oils were winning gold medals. So it was an easy step for us to expand the awards platform to 10 winners.  And we also believed it important to lower the minimum volume qualifying criteria to enable smaller and boutique producers to participate in the Absa competition.

Of course, competitions need credibility to gain prestige and SA Olive has done everything they can to build the stature of the awards.  They’ve put in place a strict judging process and appointed an expert judging panel including Sue Langstaff, an international olive oil expert and sensory scientist from California.  By the way, Sue was very impressed with our olive oils.  She said: “What distinguishes a superb from a good olive oil? It’s perfect levels of balance, complexity, harmony and freshness. And these ten olive oils do not disappoint. I would like to thank the judging panel for their commitment to the high judging standards required for a competition of this stature.

Eloise and I were chatting to a major retailer the other day and she said that olive oils now account for a significant % of total oil sales within their top stores.  That’s because they’re listing more olive oils and devoting more shelf space to them. And before I joined Absa and got involved in this competition, I can tell you that as a pretty uneducated consumer, the SA Olive sticker and the Absa Top 5 sticker, made it a whole lot easier for me to choose the right EVOO. By the way, we’re very excited about the new Absa Top 10 seal that we’ve developed for the winning oils – 35 000 free sticker seals you can take home with you today.

In closing, I’d like to say that thank you to the SA Olive Association. It is pleasure to be your partner.  We are proud of this sponsorship and our association with the South African olive oil industry.   We are proud of your success both locally and internationally despite tough drought conditions.  Thank you for allowing us to walk this path with you.

Congratulations to all the finalists and our top 10 winners.

Local is definitely “baie lekker”.”

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