Business

A New 'Greek Mark' for Olives and Olive Oil

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 to distinguish Greek products in foreign markets.

Oct. 16, 2018
By Costas Vasilopoulos

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.