About Us

The Story Behind Morocco Gold

The Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Story

Looking AFter Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Summary:

  • The Morocco Gold management team combines decades of experience and expertise in the food and drinks industry, together with world class journalism and communications to bring this exceptional extra virgin olive oil to international markets.
  • We have applied ‘best in class’ standards across the entire value chain, ensuring the very best production, transportation distribution and communications throughout the entire Morocco Gold journey.
  • We work closely in Morocco with ONSSA (L’Office National de Sécurité Sanitaire des produits Alimentaires) www.onssa.gov.ma who are responsible for the quality of Moroccan agricultural produce and in the UK with Campden BRI www.campdenbri.co.uk to test each harvest of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil to guarantee provenance, authenticity and extra virgin quality.
  • Our bottling facility in the UK operates to AA standard as certified by BRC Certification body www.brcgs.com who have been leading the way in food standards for nearly 25 years.
  • Our fulfilment and distribution partners mean that Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil can be delivered to or health-conscious food livers – worldwide. We now have fulfilment and distribution centres in the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, and shortly in Australia, giving Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil a truly global reach.

Contents:

Meet The Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Management Team

Gordon Davidson

Gordon Davidson: Founder & CEO

Gordon has had over 30 years of experience within business consulting. He has successfully delivered major benefits to clients in the manufacturing, food and drink sector, financial services, local government, utilities, social housing and many other sectors. His key expertise is in business transformation, developing customer-oriented strategies, business processes and crucially the ‘cultural / people’ change programmes necessary in ensuring that organisations operate in the most effective and efficient manner.

Gordon has brought this transformation experience to create Morocco Gold as a ground breaking, primarily internet based product, at the cutting edge of e-commerce retailing.


Robert Watson: Chairman & Production Director

Bob has over 30 years of operations experience in the drinks industry including brewing, distilling, soft drinks, bottled water and is a recognised industry expert. He is a Master Brewer.  Previous roles include Factory Manager Strathmore Mineral Water Co (Part of A G Barr) Production Director at Matthew Clark/Constellation.

He was a Director of the British Soft Drinks Association, Chair of the Bottled Waters Group and was a Board member and Vice President / Treasurer of the European Federation of Bottled Waters. Bob was appointed an Honorary Member of the British Soft Drinks Association during 2018 for his services to the industry.

Robert Watson

Sustainability Environment

Jaouad Hadani: Director

Jaouad is a Moroccan based accountant specialising in servicing English speaking clients in Marrakech. He also has strong family connections to the Moroccan agricultural sector and has been responsible for organising local logistics to bring produce to market, including olive oil. He also has extensive import / export experience.

His extensive knowledge of local farming, traditions and methods provide the ‘cultural bridge’ in combining the best of traditional agricultural practices with latest industry best practices.


Linda Lyons: Director & Company Secretary

Linda has over 10 years experience of business generation activities in the management consultancy sector. She now runs a highly successful Riad business in Marrakech and is a key social media influencer in Marrakech.

For the past 16 years, Gordon and Linda have divided their time between Morocco and the UK. They have travelled extensively throughout the country and have discovered less well-known Morocco, the rich agricultural regions nestling in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains that have been supplying local markets for generations. They recognised this ‘Garden of Eden’ on the doorstep of Europe as a new source of traditionally cultivated, natural, healthy produce, rich in nutrients as well as exciting new tastes.

Linda Lyons

Allison Meldrum

Allison Meldrum

MA in English Literature, with a background of 2 decades in Journalism and Communications across a multitude of sectors, Allison has specialist experience and interest in the Health, Fitness and Well-being sectors, having worked for many years with a fitness & leisure trust and a pharmacy group among others.

Allison combines a passion for research, strong and effective communication with a deep understanding of the media environment and thought leadership to tell the story of Morocco Gold.

The Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Mission

  • To help establish Morocco as an undiscovered source of premium quality Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Establish Morocco Gold as the leading Moroccan brand Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Bring Morocco Gold to health-conscious food lovers – worldwide
  • Harness the very latest in online retailing

Morocco Gold’s Core Values

Heritage

From the time of the Romans, Morocco has a rich heritage in producing extra virgin olive oil of exceptional quality. Nestled in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, a half-day’s drive outside of Marrakech, exists a unique, unspoiled valley with a terroir and microclimate that provides ideal conditions for growing the prized Picholine Marocaine cultivar, the only type of olive used to create Morocco Gold.

It is only recently that this undiscovered source has been appreciated, creating a large demand for this rare and highly sought-after extra virgin olive oil from this unique source from food lovers and culinary connoisseurs alike.

Authenticity

Morocco Gold exemplifies natural, sustainable agricultural methods. It combines centuries of local cultivation and harvesting knowledge, with our rigorous traceability and quality assurance procedures to bring what is locally considered a ‘noble food’ to international markets.

Morocco Gold is rigorously tested both in Morocco by ONSSA (L’Office National de Sécurité Sanitaire des produits Alimentaires) www.onssa.gov.ma who are responsible for the quality of Moroccan agricultural produce and in the UK by Campden BRI www.campdenbri.co.uk to test each harvest of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil to guarantee provenance, authenticity and extra virgin quality.

Morocco Gold is fully traceable throughout its production to guarantee provenance, authenticity and extra virgin quality. Uniquely, the results of our annual harvest analysis are printed on each and every bottle of Morocco Gold.

Community

Morocco Gold is leading the way in transforming the Moroccan olive oil sector and setting a new standard for the industry. We work closely with a local co-operative, largely consisting of women. As a country, Morocco’s agricultural sector employs approximately 40% of the nation’s workforce; women comprising nearly half of these employees. Employment in agriculture has been shown to be at least twice as effective in reducing rural poverty as growth in other sectors.

Morocco Gold is proud to support the empowerment of Moroccan women through employment in the agricultural sector.

Supporting Health And Wellness

With Extra Virgin olive oil deemed the original ‘superfood’, Moroccan Gold is a heart-healthy addition to any regular diet and health-conscious lifestyle. Morocco Gold is teeming in polyphenols, the antioxidants that work to neutralize free radicals, thus protecting the body from cellular damage. Extensive research has shown that high quality extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, aids in digestive health, and may even prevent diabetes and lessen the severity of osteoporosis.

The Story Of Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil – How It Started

Husband and wife team Gordon and Linda are from Scotland, a wonderful country to live in, with a rich heritage, outstanding natural beauty, and history that knocks Game Of Thrones into a cocked hat. When the sun shines, it is the most wonderful place on earth to be. Unfortunately, the sun does not shine in Scotland for much of the year.

Gordon’s lifetime of work as a management consultant, transforming businesses and their performance, has, however, taken him to many parts of Europe and the USA where the sun does shine. This, together with the business challenges faced, great people he has had the privilege of working with, has made this an incredibly rewarding career in so many ways.

However, this was interrupted when Linda, wife, soulmate, and best friend, also a mainstay of their consultancy business, was diagnosed with breast cancer. This gave them an additional, life-changing project to manage. There was never any doubt that Linda would recover however this 2-year period prompted a re-evaluation of life’s priorities.

They also decided to look for their own ‘place in the sun’. They looked around Europe, countries where Gordon had worked in, looked at the logistics of traveling between countries, then spotted an article about Morocco and its resurgence as a ‘go- to’ destination of choice. Being only a 4-hour flight from Edinburgh to Marrakech, they decided to explore and wow!

On the very first visit, they were captivated by the colours, sights, and exotic aromas of Marrakech, the sheer vibrancy of Marrakech, and the warmth and friendliness of its people. They decided quite quickly – ‘this was the place for us’. So, they renovated a Riad, a traditional house in the centre of the old medina in Marrakech, to be our ‘place in the sun’.

Some of their friends thought they were barking mad, however, this is where Gordon’s project management background from his consultancy days came to the fore, and the project was successfully completed on time and on budget. It also gave them a real insight into the workings and administrative challenges of living in Morocco. Linda now runs the Riad as a highly successful guest house business in Marrakech and is a key social media influencer in the city.

Whilst settling in, they also made a point of traveling extensively throughout the country to discover less well-known Morocco. From Tangier, where you can still feel the ‘edginess’ of a city that was once an international protectorate during World War II and full of spies watching each other, the green, rolling Rif mountains with its blue-washed mountain town of Chefchaouen, one of Morocco’s most picturesque villages, the rich and fertile fields surrounding the agricultural centre of Meknes, nearby the remains of the ancient Roman city of Volubulis where many of Morocco’s agricultural traditions started,

Azilal province, famous for its dinosaur fossils and footprints, across the High Atlas Mountains to Ait Ben Haddou, used as a backdrop to films like Gladiator. Further south still to the desert sand dunes around Zagora.

Morocco is a country of diverse and stunning landscapes. What is consistent throughout the country, however, is the warm welcome given to travellers where the traditional greeting of ‘Assalamu alaikum’ (literally – ‘peace be with you’), always results in a warm smile.

This was when they discovered the rich agricultural regions stretching from the northwest to the central regions nestling in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains that have been supplying local markets with fresh produce for generations.

Morocco is a ‘Garden of Eden’ on the doorstep of Europe and a wonderful source of traditionally cultivated, natural, healthy produce, rich in nutrients as well as exciting new tastes.

Morocco can, however, be something of an administrative nightmare. When renovating their riad, they met Jaouad Hadani, a Moroccan-based accountant specializing in servicing English-speaking clients in Marrakech. He also has strong family connections to the Moroccan agricultural sector and prior to his accountancy career, he was responsible for organising local logistics to bring produce to market, including – his family olive oil. Linda has always been extremely health conscious and looks after both her and Gordon’s diet most carefully. With the growing consumer interest in and demand for pure, natural food products as part of a drive for healthy eating and living, together with care for the environment and sustainable producer methods, they quickly saw Morocco and quality Moroccan produce as ideally placed to service these needs.

Issues Within The Olive Oil Market

Blight & Drought

From around 2014 onward, unusual weather and a proliferation of insects and bacterial blight devastated the harvest in several of the major European countries. Farmers in Italy suffered so badly from pests and adverse weather that many reported harvests down by 40% to 50%.

Adulteration & Fraud

A number of high-profile prosecutions for fraud, had also reduced consumer confidence in extra virgin olive oil products. Practices including falsely labelling poor quality oils as extra virgin; marketing olive oils from different countries / origins as (for example) ‘Italian’; mixing oils of dubious provenance; using vegetable oils disguised using artificial colouring and additives.

Supermarket Behaviour

At the same time, the CEO of one of the major suppliers of olive oil was quoted as saying – “the olive oil industry’s business model is broken. (Gordon did at the time ask – who broke it then?) Olive oil was perceived as a traffic builder by (supermarket) retailers and, of course, volume is more important than value”. He went on: “even though we are dealing with a unique product, fantastic product, in my opinion, we are confusing the consumers, we are just confusing them – it’s a mess.”

So, Gordon and Linda thought – if the traditional EU producer countries and retailers are struggling to satisfy customers – could Morocco ‘fill the gap?’.

What The Team Did

Gordon carried out extensive research, value chain analysis, and detailed business modelling. He and Jaouad obtained olive oil samples from around the country and visited supplier sites. The overall aim was to help establish Morocco as an alternative source of exceptionally high-quality extra virgin olive oil that had not been tainted by some of the negative behaviours of traditional EU producing countries.

“We aimed to re-establish consumer trust and confidence in extra virgin olive oil as ‘the original superfood’ that has stood the test of time. From the outset, we also wanted to be at the forefront of 21st century retailing by making our olive oil directly available to health-conscious food-lovers worldwide through the internet, rather than through traditional bricks and mortar wholesalers and retailers” said Gordon.

They then teamed up with a dear old friend whom Gordon had known for over 40 years (who thought he was about to retire!). Bob Watson has a lifetime of experience of operations in the drinks industry including brewing, distilling, soft drinks, bottled water and is a recognised industry expert. His vast experience also included helping to ‘clean up’ the bottled water industry and raise international standards following on from some major scandals.

The Morocco Gold Approach

Morocco Gold are delighted to bring their collective years of experience within the food and drink sector to bring this centuries old ‘superfood’ from this amazing new source to a worldwide audience.

“Our aims are to: promote Morocco as an undiscovered source of exceptionally high quality extra virgin olive oil; support healthy eating and lifestyle choices through all-natural, genuine, high quality extra virgin olive oil; set a new standard for provenance, authenticity and the guarantee of extra virgin quality; educate consumers about olive oil as an original ‘superfood’, rich in health enhancing polyphenols; help to transform the olive oil sector in Morocco and bring this centuries old ‘superfood’ to international customers”.

Gordon Davidson: Founder & CEO

Why This Is So Important

Olive Oil In Ancient Greece
Olive Oil In Ancient Greece

In a fast-changing world it is unusual to re-discover a ‘wisdom of the ancients’ that is as potent now as it has been for thousands of years. It has been known for centuries that high quality extra virgin olive oil is good for your health and wellbeing. It has also been lauded across many cultures.

In ancient Rome, olive oil was used for nearly everything in relation to their health. Roman medicine takes heavily from Greek doctors, who influenced European medicine for centuries.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

Hippocrates: father of modern medicine

The difference now is – following extensive scientific research we now know exactly what is in high quality olive oils that are so good for you – its antioxidant polyphenols.

Morocco Gold is an exceptionally high-quality extra virgin olive oil from a unique new source. What makes it so special is it is teeming with health enhancing polyphenols. The following illustrates the range of chronic conditions where research into these polyphenols has demonstrated positive effects.

Health Benefits And Polyphenols
Health Benefits And Polyphenols

In fact, the European Food Safety Authority has now approved health claims for extra virgin olive oils with polyphenol content of more than 250mg / kg. Morocco Gold contains polyphenols well above this level.

The cost of these chronic disease to national economies is astronomic. For example, in 2016, the cost of cardiovascular diseases in the USA alone was around $555Bn. This is expected to rise to $1.1Tr by 2035. The cost to the individual, both in terms of costs of treatment, as well as the pain and suffering experienced is also huge.

Morocco Gold is on a mission to re-establish extra virgin olive oil as a healthy diet / lifestyle choice; show wellness conscious people on how this incredibly simple diet / lifestyle choice – inclusion of a high-quality extra virgin olive oil – can have a profound impact on their health and wellbeing; show how extra virgin olive fits into a wider wellness lifestyle.

“We are delighted with the reception that Morocco Gold has had to date. We are equally delighted to contribute to the country we now call home. At a time when national and cross-cultural tensions are rising it is wonderful to create a cross cultural venture where people of ‘good heart’ can come together to create something that people from all different cultures and backgrounds can benefit from.”

Gordon Davidson: Founder & CEO

Why Has Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Been So Successful?

There is no doubt that the pandemic, Brexit and the cost of living crisis has made this the most challenging of business environments. However, against this background, over the past few years Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil has continued on its path of substantial and sustained growth. Here’s why:

Embracing The New Technology

From the outset in 2017, Morocco Gold was conceived as an internet product, moving away from traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ wholesale and retailing, and being at the forefront of e-commerce and internet retailing. Since our launch in late 2018, thanks to its focused SEO strategy, Morocco Gold now has a higher internet profile than many well established olive oil brands.

The onset of the pandemic and the dramatic increase in internet selling undoubtedly provided a boost to our own internet sales, it also oversaw the development and use of the many communication innovations such as Zoom that became a feature of the pandemic. This enabled direct communications / regular reviews with delivery partners – quite literally – worldwide in a way that was not previously possible.

Think Globally

Setting up an internet business naturally drives ‘global thinking’ rather than seeking to service local markets. We were both surprised and delighted that the USA quickly became our primary market, although we have now delivered Morocco Gold as far afield as Japan, Singapore, Africa, Alaska, Hawaii, India and Australia, as well as throughout the UK and Europe. Morocco Gold truly has a global reach.

Knowing Our Customers

As an internet business, we also have direct contact with our customers and have a solid understanding of their changing habits regarding food, with the emphasis on authentic, high-quality foods, together with a growing awareness and emphasis on healthy eating and wellbeing. Our customers ask searching questions about our oil that we are delighted to respond to – quickly. This has built up a store of knowledge about why our customers prefer Morocco Gold over other olive oils. We are delighted that around 2/3’s of our orders are now for repeat customers who have made Morocco Gold part of their healthy diet / lifestyle choices.

Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The Right Product – At The Right Time

In a fast-changing world it is unusual to re-discover a ‘wisdom of the ancients’ that is as potent now as it has been for thousands of years. It has been known for centuries that high quality extra virgin olive oil is good for your health and wellbeing. It has also been lauded across many cultures.

The difference now is – following extensive scientific research we now know exactly what is in high quality olive oils that are so good for you – its antioxidant polyphenols.

Morocco Gold is an exceptionally high-quality extra virgin olive oil from a unique new source.  What makes it so special however is it is teeming with health enhancing polyphenols, the antioxidants that provide protection against a wide range of chronic illnesses. This makes Morocco Gold particularly attractive to health-conscious food lovers – worldwide. New research is also now showing that the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil can help alleviate the symptoms of long covid.

Morocco Gold is on a mission to show health and wellness conscious food lovers how this incredibly simple diet / lifestyle choice – inclusion of a high-quality extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold  – can have a profound impact on their health and wellbeing.

Incredibly versatile, Morocco Gold also has a taste like no other! It truely is – ‘the right product – for the right time’.

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