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Food

Yanni’s Olive Grove – An Innovative Greek Family Company

November 23, 2020
By Sofia Prodromou

Yanni’s Olive Grove is a family company located in Nea Tenedos, in the Halkidiki peninsula of northern Greece, which produces early harvest extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) and olive food products only from Halkidiki olive tree varieties. The company is on the Top 100 Societies of the World list for according to the World Ranking organization and it has gained over 50 top international quality and high phenolic awards.  

The company’s basic belief is the creation of the highest quality olive food products. The products are produced in a completely natural way, without the use of chemical solvents or other additives. This is ensured by the continuous improvement of the production process, which is under the care of the American Farm School.   

The individualization is combined with a ‘green’ integrated management system, a unique high-tech cultivation system named Gaia Sense, which was applied for the first time in Europe on Yanni’s olive groves as a pilot olive tree cultivator, and a unique QR CODE traceability system. 

According to the instructions of the IOOC, the company’s harvests are done solely by hand and the olive fruits are transported in ventilated plastic crates to the separator within a few hours. They are then sorted and immediately transported either to the oil mill or to the processing area. The EVOO extraction process takes place at a low and controlled temperature and the bottling takes place with nitrogen – ensuring the maximum quality. The company combines their production of the highest quality products with maximum environmental protection through their packaging materials, recycling, and waste management systems.  

Yanni’s company produces a series of innovative olive snacks which consist of Greek Halkidiki olives containing dried fruits, products that were recently launched in the North American market. The company’s philosophy is based on the Mediterranean Healthy Diet (MeDi), and on that ground, these new olive snacks are perfect for healthy snacking. The low sodium, along with the sweet and sour taste of the olives are harmonically combined, offering a pleasant aftertaste. The olive snacks have the unique natural taste of olives and can be objectively described as the perfect snack because of their lack of sugar, preservatives, and salt. At the same time, the olives are liquid free and offer high energy value from fat (but are low in calories) and have a shelf-life of 12 months. The snacks are ideal for diabetics, vegans, and people suffering from heart disease or are limited in their diet in other ways.   

Yanni’s Olive Grove supports many scientific studies – among them the MICOIL study, which focuses on the EVOO benefits in humans – and collaborates with both the Alzheimer Hellas Association and two Greek universities: the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki (AUTH) and the National and Kapodistrian University in Athens (NKUA). As the study’s main sponsor, Yanni’s company offered their EVOO to the study for 12 months. 

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of different kinds of EVOO on amnesic patients diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), which leads to Alzheimer’s disease. The study, titled ‘A randomized clinical trial of Greek High Phenolic Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Mild Cognitive Impairment: the MICOIL pilot study,’ has already been published in one of the great American medical journals, the Journal of Alzheimer’s.

As a main result, the MICOIL study showed the impressive Yanni’s EVOO health benefits regarding the protection against the oxidation of blood lipids with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties. In this study of the Greek, community-dwelling, MCI elderly cohort, the consumption of Greek high phenolic early harvest EVOO and Mild Phenolic EVOO, in addition to the Mediterranean Diet (MeDi), were associated with better general cognitive performance especially regarding global cognition, letter fluency, and stability of MCI after 12 months compared to the control group. Based on these findings, Professor M. Tsolaki commended the study: "To date, there is no other study that has examined in such detail the effects of extra virgin olive oil on the elderly with Mild Cognitive Impairment as an effective solution for cognitive impairment.” 

A food supplement enriched in Vitamins E & K based on the early harvest high phenolic Halkidiki EVOO called MICOIL will be launched to the American market in the spring of 2021 by Yanni’s Olive Grove. However, the early harvest EVOO, Yanni’s Finest, which was used in this study will be available in December of 2020 in many American stores and on Amazon. The olive snacks have already been imported to the U.S. market by Loumidis Foods.  

Sofia Prodromou has an BSc at Food Chemistry and Oenology and an MSc at Industrial Pharmacology From Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.

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