Seven com­pa­nies in Greece that pro­duce table olives and extra vir­gin and vir­gin olive oil were the first in the coun­try to dis­play a “Greek Mark” on their label­ing, part of a project that aims to iden­tify var­i­ous prod­ucts of Greece to dis­tin­guish them in for­eign mar­kets.

It will help con­sumers eas­ily dis­cern Greek qual­ity olive oil on the super­mar­ket shelves.- Emmanouil Karpadakis, Terra Creta

The leg­is­la­tion that enabled the mark, which resem­bles a Greek flag, for edi­ble olives and olive oil became effec­tive last August. It con­tains the pre­req­ui­sites the prod­ucts must ful­fill, ini­tially requir­ing that a ver­ti­cally inte­grated pro­duc­tion process exists totally in Greece.

For olive oil, it means that all the stages of the pro­duc­tion must take place within the coun­try: grow­ing the fruit, pro­cess­ing and pack­ag­ing and export­ing the final prod­uct.

See more: The Best Olive Oils from Greece

Beyond cer­ti­fy­ing the ori­gin of the prod­ucts, it is hoped the mark will pro­vide an added value for the Greek olive indus­try.

The Greek Mark is seen as another tool to fight olive oil fal­si­fi­ca­tion and adul­ter­ation and help limit the quan­ti­ties of olive oil being sold in bulk in the coun­try and abroad.

Vassilis Kokkalis, the deputy min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, stated that the safe road for Greek agri­cul­tural prod­ucts in a highly com­pet­i­tive global mar­ket is to be clearly rec­og­nized world­wide by using the sym­bol. He sent an open invi­ta­tion to com­pa­nies in the olive oil indus­try to ful­fill the require­ments and earn the mark.

Two of the com­pa­nies that have been awarded the mark spoke with Olive Oil Times.

Emmanouil Karpadakis of Terra Creta, one of the larger pro­duc­ers of Crete, expects the Greek Mark to strengthen their brand­ing abroad. “It is some­thing that will help us com­mu­ni­cate the qual­ity of our prod­ucts in inter­na­tional mar­kets,” he said.

“It will help con­sumers eas­ily dis­cern Greek qual­ity olive oil on the super­mar­ket shelves from mix­tures of olive oil from other coun­tries and of ambigu­ous qual­ity,” he con­tin­ued. “We cur­rently send our prod­ucts to 42 mar­kets all over the world, but we expect that the mark will draw more atten­tion in European coun­tries and in the U.S. than in China or African mar­kets.”

Karpadakis said that more Greek com­pa­nies should opt for the mark to help them stand out from the com­pe­ti­tion, pro­vided that their prod­ucts match the qual­ity the mark pro­claims to deliver.

Olico Brokers, a com­pany based in Athens, said they already use the Greek flag on their olive oil pack­ag­ing, and they expect that the mark will fur­ther enhance their pres­ence in for­eign mar­kets. “We believe it will prove use­ful, and it will give even more credit and rec­og­niz­abil­ity to our qual­ity prod­ucts,” they said.

They also under­lined that every­body wish­ing to sell olives or olive oil with the mark on the label should be aware that there are strict pro­duc­tion and qual­ity cri­te­ria to be met.

Global com­pe­ti­tion in the olive oil and table olives sec­tor is fierce and it requires a high level of brand­ing. The mark is awarded by Elgo-Dimitra, an orga­ni­za­tion charged with pro­mot­ing agri­cul­tural research and edu­ca­tion, and by the General Chemical State Laboratory of Greece.

There is an online reg­istry allow­ing any­one to search for prod­ucts car­ry­ing the Greek Mark.




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