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Olives – from the grove to your table

Olives – from the grove to your table

Despite the popularly of olives and olive oil, most people know very little about olives. Olives have been the focal point of agriculture for centuries and are among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world. There are thousands of varieties of olives around the world, however only about 150 varieties are cultivated and are brought from the grove to your table. 

Olives are native to Asia Minor and spread from Iran, Syria and Palestine to the rest of the Mediterranean Basin 6000 years ago. Olives have been found in Egyptian tombs and the Greeks and Romans spread their popularity across Europe.

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 Akhenaten offers Olive branch to Aton. 1345 BC

Today, olives are a popular and loves feature in salads, antipasti platters or simply in bowls for delicious snacking. And we Brits love them, consuming 34 thousand tonnes in 2020. That’s almost half a kilo for every person in the UK. But have you ever wondered how olives go from the grove to your table?

Have you ever tried eating an olive from the tree?

If you have ever been tempted to eat an olive fresh from a tree while you’re on holiday, you would have been in for a bitter surprise. Fresh olives are intensely bitter. They contain compounds that need to be removed or, at least, reduced to make them palatable.

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Fresh olives are cured, using brine, dry salt or salt water. During the curing process, the oleuropein compounds are leached out of the olive, giving it the gorgeous flavour we all love.

Creating magic at Medfood

At Medfood, we are one of the largest producers and distributors of olives in the UK. We take our olives very seriously and we’re very particular about our flavours. We have a fantastic range of olives from all over the Mediterranean basin, from Turkey to Spain, Greece and even Morocco.

Now we don’t want to play favourites, but we have to say that we do love our marinated olives. We take top-quality olives and bring out their gorgeous flavour by adding delicious marinades containing chilli, herbs, spices, garlic and even pomegranates. Creating unique and delicious flavour combinations for you to enjoy.

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Dreaming of warm Italian summers? Try Bella Napoli. This delightful mix is made of green, purple and black Italian olives, marinated with red peppers, garlic and herbs in oil.

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Looking for something different? How about our African Spice olives. Green and black olives marinated with fenugreek, chilli, garlic and cinnamon and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, we have added warming cumin and brought it all together in oil. Mmm.

We could go on all day speaking about our marinated olives. Why not look through our range and find your favourite?

Flavour combinations that bring you joy

We have all probably tried plain and marinated olives but have you ever tried stuffed olives? Large green olives stuffed with ricotta cheese, anchovies, almonds, peppers, sundried tomatoes and even red chilli peppers.

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Stuffed olives bring you a new flavour profile. Mild stuffings, like ricotta and almonds, bring you a smooth cool flavour with the salty olive. Garlic stuffed brings you crunch and pungency. While the chilli peppers are full of heat and drama which followed by the cool olive bring you relief. Like the marinated range, each stuffed olive 

has its own personality and character. They are great for snacking on and are fantastic in salads.

A taste of summer in a bowl


Why is it that everything tastes better in the summer and from a barbecue? There is something very special about the smoky, grilled flavour and that is why we have introduced our new grilled olives.

Selected Turkish green olives are grilled to give you a complex flavour. Once grilled, we marinate our olives with garlic, capia peppers and herbs in oil that brings you joy in every bite.


Olives – the ancient super food

It’s easy to think of olives as mere snacks, but olives are the most ancient of super foods. Olives are rich in a plant compound called Polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. These compounds reduce the risk of chronic diseases including cancer.

Although olives are high in fat, their fat is oleic acid which is associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and balancing cholesterol and blood pressure. They are also rich in potassium and calcium.

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The curing and fermenting of olives means that they are full of beneficial bacteria and enzymes. These bacteria increase the natural intestinal flora and gut microbiome which enhances our immune function and natural wellbeing. So not only are olives really delicious, they are also really good for us.

Nutritionally you just can’t get better!

In 2021 Tufts University in the US brought out a new revolutionary nutrient profiling system called the Food Compass System (FCS). The FCS ranks foods from 1 to 100 depending on how nutritionally beneficial they are for our bodies.

Not surprisingly, vegetables and fruits ranked the highest, averaging 73 points out of 100. However when olives were analysed, the overall amazing health benefits of the humble olive pushed it right up the chart with 95 FCS points!! Making it one of the best foods you can eat as part of your healthy diet.

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When it comes to ticking boxes, we can see that olives tick every single box. They are healthy, nutritious, delicious and fun to eat. Find out more about our huge selection of olives by looking through our products section. There really is more to olives than meets the eye.

If you would like to discuss your business needs with us and talk to us about our range of products, call our sales team on 020 8965 6528 or contact us for more information.


Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ancient Egyptian Tablets

The History of Olives

Olive – 101 nutrients guide

Food Compass – A Novel Nutrient Profiling System that Assesses the Healthfulness of Foods. Tufts University. 2021

Photographic attributes.

Olive tree branch: Olive tree photo created by kotkoa –

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2 Responses

  1. Lovely read Medfood, I wasn’t a big fan of Olives growing up but in recent years this has changed!. Having had the privilege of tasting premium olives that are now being offered in UK which is a blessing as most businesses concentrated on selling the cheap verity that put myself and many people in UK off olives all together. Therefore thank you for the article as well as bringing the real mediterranean food to the UK.

    1. Dear Stella,
      We are so pleased you like our olives. We are very particular about our olives and as one of the leading suppliers and producers of olives, we always make sure that we bring not just the best olives, but also new flavours to our customers. We hope you will continue to enjoy our olives and please do keep an eye on our website as we work on new flavours and marinades all the time.
      Thank you again.

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