Climate Opportunities & Partnerships

Middle East & Africa


Phenolives Turns Olive Oil Waste Into Healthy Flour

While only 15% of the olives become olive oil, the remaining 85%, which oxidizes and becomes olive oil waste, is a huge opportunity

May 25, 2024 / 3 Min
Image by Rita and Mit from Pixabay

By Climatech MEA Team


More than 3 million tons of olive oil are produced each year. While about 15% of the olives become olive oil, the remaining 85% constitutes a huge opportunity. 


The core problem of olive oil waste is that within 15 minutes of the olive being squeezed in the mill, the waste begins to oxidize. Once it oxidizes, it is toxic and difficult to dispose of. In addition, all the healthy nutrients found in olive oil are also found in olive oil waste but once the waste oxidizes, it can no longer be used for human consumption. 


PhenOlives, Israeli startup, has developed a patented method to deal with a problem that has plagued olive oil production for thousands of years, by stopping olive oil oxidization and utilizing the waste from olive oil pressing. It worked with olive oil experts, mechanical engineers, food technologists, farmers and academia to come up with an innovative solution for not only waste management in the olive oil sector but also the utilization of all the healthy nutrients in this waste to produce a beneficial food source.


From olive waste to flour
While the seeds can be used for heat and energy production, the pulp can be turned into olive flour and additional products in the future.


The olive flour is extremely healthy: It has a high fiber content at 82%, a low-calorie profile and is also gluten free. Furthermore, it has a neutral taste, making it a versatile ingredient for a variety of culinary applications. 


The company has used olive flour to make many different types of baked goods. In each product, a different percentage of olive flour out of the total flour can be used, including pasta (50%), bread (20%), crackers (100%), cookies (30%), brownies (30%), muffins (50%), pizza crust (50%), so that olive flour can be used with other traditional flour ingredients.


Phenolives Won the Outgenia Competition 2023 in Spain, organized by FIAB – the representative body of 30,000+ food companies in Spain - as the most promising international food startup for Spain. 


PhenOlives is currently exploring opportunities for collaboration with food and ingredients companies and olive mills for the production and sale of olive flour in Europe this year and will also soon open another investment round. The company also works with prominent chefs to develop a range of new recipes using olive flour and have a number of ongoing pilots with many food companies. 


Chen Lev-Ari, PhenOlives' CEO, says the company's goal is "to promote the widespread adoption of olive flour as a favored ingredient to boost fiber and antioxidants in products while simultaneously lowering calorie content. It will help to reduce the amount of olive oil waste disposed of every year by olive oil mills and simultaneously improve the economic model of olive farmers and olive oil mills by enabling them to use 100% of the olive instead of only the 15% they are using today”.