25 years are just the beginning
In September 1994, Lola Peñafiel launched the first issue of Mercacei Semanal, which heralded the start of the Mercacei Publishing Group. Today, 25 years later, their publications are a benchmark within the olive oil sector worldwide.
Following 25 years devoted to publishing professional literature regarding the olive oil and olive sector, Juan A. Peñamil, editor of Mercacei Publishing Group, assures that “plenty of work, lots of enthusiasm and a great deal of considerable effort” have been the keys for Mercacei to turn into a reference across the globe.
In 1994, Lola Peñafiel, Peñamil’s wife, launched Mercacei Semanal. Not even one year later, given the success of this weekly magazine, they launched: Mercacei Magazine on a quarterly basis. Later, the Mercacei Guide for Manufacturers and Packers of Olive oil, the Industrial Guide for the Olive Oil and Olive Sector, Olivatessen by Mercacei and, ultimately, the EVOOLEUM World’s TOP100 Extra Virgin Olive Oils Guide arrived. “If we have achieved being a reference in our sector, it is because we have been innovative in numerous aspects. In addition to always seriously and rigorously reporting information, which is crucial when you are devoting yourself to professional press, we have to add that we have been diversifying and creating new publishing products that did not previously exist in the market”, highlights Juan A. Peñamil.
Nevertheless, despite many successful moments, according to Mercacei’s editor, there are two key moments that constituted a turning point for the olive oil world. The first one happened in the year 2000 when the first edition of the Mercacei Guide of Spain’s Extra Virgin Olive Oils was published. “We thought that, as there were many wine guides, a guide devoted to olive oil was also needed; a guide where readers could find all the information on the olive oil industry, the elaboration process, the art of tasting, routes for olive oil-tourism, etc.” declares Peñamil, who also adds that “this launching was not only an important moment for us, but also for the entire sector, because thanks to this presentation in Madrid’s Teatro Real’s restaurant (which at that time had recently been inaugurated), we succeeded in bringing olive oil beyond the professional and technical field and enabled olive oil to be dealt with in general media”.
At a communication level, undoubtedly the second milestone took place in 2015 when the first issue of Olivatessen by Mercacei was published. “It was the world’s first magazine that was written in English, devoted to extra virgin olive oil and intended for high-end brands. Through this magazine, we try to give value to not only EVOO, but also to all our Mediterranean culture, regarding a healthy diet and lifestyle. Following the same token of innovating and boosting EVOO as a modern and groovy product, we have interviewed world-famous figures such as the singer Sting, film director Francis Ford Coppola or chef Massimo Bottura”, points out Juan A. Peñamil.
These communications’ milestones accomplished an important recognition when Mercacei Publishing Group was awarded the “Alimentos de España” Prize (for Communication) by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Despite the work carried out over these past 25 years, Juan A. Peñamil knows that there are still many things to do within the sector: “We have to be capable of seeking out a specific language for extra virgin olive oil. Just like wine that has its own language, our sector should also have a particular way of expressing itself. We cannot get an emotion across if we can’t find the right term. We should ensure synergies and develop a brainstorming session with the whole sector, so that people move up a gear and that we are all capable of working in the pursuit of a proper language which is what would undoubtedly make a difference. Extra virgin olive oils are so exceptional that they are lacking an evocative, specific and user-friendly metalanguage. If we achieved this, everything that comes afterwards will be very interesting.”
Twenty-five years after its creation, Mercacei Publishing Group continues its same commitment, enthusiasm and passion with which it was founded by Lola Peñafiel. Alongside her husband Juan A. Peñamil, this commitment has been taken up by her daughter, Pandora Peñamil Peñafiel, director of Evooleum and Olivatessen by Mercacei; and they all work side by side in order to continue to be the benchmark in media for the sector.