Greek Olive Oil Gets Traction, But Will it Last?
By Marissa Tejada
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Athens, Greece
Greek olive oil is gaining ground in international markets. According to Kathimerini, Greece’s major daily newspaper, Spain’s reduced olive crops led to greater demand in the bulk market and that helped Greece increase market share by 10 percent this year which helped boost the industry in other ways.
“We are known primarily for our bulk product which is reaching top export levels starting last year into this year. This is a time when we are managing to escape the shadow of other top olive oil producing countries and, as a result, I believe Greek products are being noticed in the market,” said Efthimios Christakis, who specializes in promoting Greek olive oil in Germany.
In an interview with Olive Oil Times, Christakis says he receives calls each day from hopeful Greeks looking to market Greek premium olive oil abroad. “The 10 percent increase in market share is the kind of visibility that is positive for Greek olive oil and positive for hopeful producers looking to market premium brands abroad.”
However, Christakis said the upturn for Greece will be short lived. By next year he predicts that Spain’s production will not only be back to normal but may even have an especially successful year surpassing numbers the country had reached two years ago. As a result, Christakis said there will be an abundance of olive oil in the market. If Greece is unable to follow the lower prices as a result, the country will not manage to achieve another excellent year in the bulk oil market.
Christakis said despite that, Greek producers must focus on premium quality. “The events in the past year have proven that we must pay serious attention to bottled olive oil quality and not only to how the bottle appears. Greece should invest in the development of its olive oil, its quality and its identity. We have to give a strong reason to consumers to prefer Greek olive oil. Greeks love to boast that we have the best olive oil but we need to prove this to the world by establishing our identity and quality.”
Christakis points out that is slowly happening and that, especially in the past year, many Greek brands stood out in global competitions. “Within the last year there was a very good effort by Greek producers. Overall, I think Greece is still at an early stage in the game but its better late than never.”