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Olive Processing

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Olive Processing

Olive oil is an important food oil that is very popular around the world for its flavor, cooking properties and health benefits.  The majority of olive oil produced is from olives grown in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, with Spain, Italy and Greece being the top producers.  More than 3 million tons of oil are produced annually. 

More than 90% of olives grown are used to produce olive oil.  The olives are collected from olive trees and brought to a processing plant where they are washed and ground into a paste.  This olive paste is often analyzed for oil content to calculate a payment to the olive farmers based on the moisture and oil content. 

The olive paste is then subjected to a pressing process or centrifugation to separate the oil from the pomace.  The first press oil is the highest grade and is termed virgin oil.  Subsequent presses or extractions produce lesser grades.  The pomace can be analyzed for residual oil to maximize oil production and optimize the pressing parameters.  Residual oil in the pomace can be quantified to reduce waste.  The extracted oil is analyzed to determine its grade by quantifying free faty acids, acidity and other parameters. 

NIR analysis is a proven technology for the olive oil industry, allowing for 100% measurement of in-process paste and pomace analysis as well as the extracted oil. This speed, combined with guaranteed accuracy, allows for complete control of the extraction process, maximizing profits and providing fast payback for the instrument.

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