This month Olivado were proud to be featured in The Orchardist, a monthly publication by Horticulture New Zealand. Written by professionals in the industry, for professionals in the industry, the periodical is the only monthly publication which reaches all levy-paying fruit growers.
The article was an excellent summary of Olivado; how we started, the challenges we faced, and how we have grown into one of New Zealand’s biggest exporters of Avocado oil. Today, Olivado have 3 production plants, creating 24 product lines, which sell in over 30 countries.
Jason Vokes, Olivado’s acting general manager, explains how the company started back in 2000, as the brain child of an enterprising team of businessmen and scientists. Together they pioneered and developed the process of extracting oil from local avocados, and before long had started a processing plant in Kerikeri.
Even though the new extraction process was working well, it soon became apparent that avocado production in New Zealand was too unstable to keep up with the high demand from overseas. The company began to look elsewhere for a second production plant, and Queensland, Australia was chosen. Unfortunately, avocados grown in tropical regions tend to have a lot of waxes and are difficult to process, so once again, the search was on for a second location.
Olivado finally selected Kenya for our new plant, and in 2007 work began on a pilot project in Nairobi. Within 6 months, Olivado had over 400 small farm holdings, providing certified organic avocados. This factory was so successful, another one was to follow in 2012. Today, over 1500 Fair Trade small farm holdings supply Olivado with avocados, producing 300 metric tonnes of extra virgin avocado oil per year.
Our factory at Kerikeri
Even with the factories in Kenya, our Kerikeri plant still comprises a huge amount of our global production. Sourcing from local packhouses, the Kerikeri plant makes around 150 metric tonnes of avocado oil annually.
All the avocados are checked by hand for ripeness and imperfections, before being added to a water bath. After being de-stoned and skinned, the flesh is then put into a giant mixer and turned into something resembling guacamole. The key here is keeping the temperature below 50 degrees, because once higher than that, the oil can no longer be classified as extra-virgin.
This guacamole puree then goes through a centrifuge, which separates the pulp from the oil and water. The final step of the process of separating the oil and the water, which is then ready for bottling, labelling, and packaging on site.
Waste not, want not!
All manufacturing processes produce waste of some description, and this avocado oil production creates 4 types. Amazingly, all 4 waste products are reused. The avocado skins and stones go to the green waste and are turned into compost. The pulp goes to the dairy farm across the road, and the water which is extracted from the oil is spread over the pasture with a muck spreader. Everything gets recycled back into nature!
And things are going even further in Kenya. Olivado has pioneered a low-tech bio-gas plant which will use all waste to power its plant and provide fuel for vehicles. This will enable a carbon neutral ranking for its product in supermarkets.
Olivado’s quality shines through
We’re not wanting to blow our own trumpet, but the article then goes on to talk about just how good Olivado oil is. Our oil has found and secured a place in the high-end, quality oil market because of its nutritional properties and high burn point. And of course the organic seal of approval also speaks of our quality and professionalism.
Olivado’s success story has allowed us to branch out into other areas of the industry, not just avocado oil. We now make high-end olive oil, including 6 infusion oils with an avocado, olive and sunflower oil blend base. We’ve recently started producing several nut oils, including peanut and macadamia. Our lemon zest oil is sourced from fresh Kerikeri Yen Ben lemons which are ‘pressed’ with the avocado to release the oils in the zest of the lemon.
The future of Olivado
Things are looking bright. We are proposing to build a new plant in Tanzania, along with packhouses for exporting fruit. We may only have 15 staff in New Zealand, but in Kenya we have changed the lives of over 10,000 people.
With increasing demand around the world for both avocado oil and avocados, expanding our business is our focus at this point. At the moment we are looking at possible partnerships in the fish oil industry, as well as opportunities in China and India. Wherever we end up, you can trust us to make the very best in avocado oil, and wave the New Zealand flag high.
If you would like to read more about us, please read our story here, or check out our product range by clicking here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our friendly and experienced staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.