Interview: Alvaro Guillen


Alvaro GuillenAlvaro Guillen is part of the company ACESUR, an agro-food business.

Acesur has more than 150 years of experience in the field of producing, packaging and marketing of olive oil and other vegetable oils as well as other products derived from olives. An experience that has established the company as the leading national group in the olive oil sector in Spain, with exports to over 85 countries worldwide.

Based in the Seville town of Dos Hermanas and implementation in different parts of the Spanish territory (Madrid, Toledo, Cuenca and Jaen), Acesur covers all processes and markets that are integrated within the olive oil sector: it produces, refines, packages, markets and exports olive oil and other vegetable oils, as well as other products derived from olives, such as olives, vinegars, sauces and dressings, mayonnaise or spreads.


How would you describe the olive oil production process (highlight the most important part of the process)?

Acesur carries out one of the most demanding processes, since we fulfill all certificates of quality. A vertically and integrated production that we take care of from the beginning, from the fruit.

Some of our processes are manual, we care for the olive trees and take care in the harvesting, and selecting the olives according to the product and country it will go to.

Currently, we have 7 production centres in Spain and one international.


Which tools/utensils are the most important in the process?

For us, a very important pillar is the protection of the environment. We have plantations that are designed for mechanical harvesting and others, for a higher quality, where we manually harvest early.

Quality is very important. Olive oil, as a whole, must be the most internationally legislated product, since it is a hundred percent natural juice without additives.

In this sense, we control all aspects, from the field to the bottle. Containers are worked to be the ideal for preserving and protecting the olive oil from light, oxygen and temperature. Olive oil’s three enemies.


How important is the land/soil in the production of olive oil?

Spain is the world leader in olive oil production, it produces 50% of the world production and of that, 70% comes from Andalusia, which has the ideal land for the production process.

The olive oil industry is one of the economic engines of Andalusia. Acesur is undertaking the initiative that the olive grove landscape should be declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity, because of what it represents culturally, historically, socially and economically for our area.

We must maintain the sustainability of the olive grove at the socio-cultural level and as an example of modernity. The plantations have been updated with the help of European financial aid for the modernization of the fields, the mills and bottling areas.


Generational Importance: On a personal level, why did you decide to devote yourself to the olive oil sector and its derivatives?

I am related by family. Since my great great grandfather until today, my family is associated to Acesur, a company that dates back to 1840.

Since I was small I have had olive oil on toast for breakfast. Fortunately nowadays it is used at lunch, dinner…

I am also the President of Foods of Andalusia, management of the agri-food sector in Andalusia.

In the last 25 years, there has been a radical change in production improvement and even in improving the presentation and conservation of packaging. And thanks to this evolution, Spanish olive oil is the market leader.


Personal opinion about Mediterranean traditions and customs.

In a globalized world, Mediterranean customs must be protected, made known and explaining that they are a part of us, that they identify us while making us different than the rest. We are the result of a way of doing things and our future generations to know and practice them.

Which Mediterranean tradition would you associate with olive oil? (Like a food item and a part of the Mediterranean Diet)

We defend the importance of the olive oil in the Mediterranean diet.

Currently, we are enjoying the merger between the food industry and the best chefs to show the world the excellence of the Spanish cuisine, which undoubtedly is framed in the Mediterranean Diet. A varied cuisine that is enriched with olive oil.

Olive oil is the main ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet and its health benefits must be emphasized as well as its many uses.

Light flavoured olive oil for frying or extra olive oil for a greater diversity in culinary uses, including desserts. For example, freshly cut oranges with a hint of olive oil.

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