`As Canadian Olive Oil Market Grows, Greek Exporters Fall Behind - Olive Oil Times

As Canadian Olive Oil Market Grows, Greek Exporters Fall Behind

Jul. 8, 2021
Costas Vasilopoulos

Recent News

A report issued by the Greek Consulate in Toronto found that Greece has lost ground in the Canadian olive oil mar­ket, hav­ing been sur­passed by Tunisia.

In the past few years, the North African coun­try has emerged as a strong com­peti­tor in the inter­na­tional mar­ket with an effec­tive pro­mo­tion strat­egy.

Greek olive oil should take advan­tage of the sit­u­a­tion of increased inter­est for a healthy Mediterranean diet in Canada and project the advan­tages of authen­tic­ity and tra­di­tion, and the unique­ness of fla­vor, acid­ity and aroma.- Greek Consulate in Toronto, 

The major­ity of con­sumers in Canada use domes­ti­cally-pro­duced canola oil and other veg­etable oils, includ­ing sun­flower, soya and palm oil. However, olive oil has started to surge in pop­u­lar­ity due to a turn by con­sumers to health­ier eat­ing pat­terns.

As a result, Canadians are begin­ning to develop a taste for the Mediterranean diet and the health ben­e­fits it boasts, which are also advo­cated by the coun­try’s media. Over the last decade, there has been a 26-per­cent per capita increase in demand for olive oil in Canada at the expense of canola oil, the report said.

Italy dom­i­nates the country’s mar­ket with a share of around 40 per­cent, whereas Greece has fallen behind Tunisia, which has become the third larger exporter of olive oil to Canada behind Spain.

In 2020, Canadian imports of vir­gin olive oil (includ­ing extra vir­gin) increased by 17 per­cent in value com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year, while an increase of almost 35 per­cent in the quan­tity of imported olive oil was recorded over the same period. The coun­try con­sumed roughly 60,000 tons of olive oil (includ­ing olive pomace oil) in the same year.

On the other hand, imports of Greek olive oil fell by four per­cent in value in 2020 com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year, while they increased by eight per­cent in vol­ume over the same time period.

The declin­ing tra­jec­to­ries of the vol­ume and value of olive oil are evi­dence of stag­nant prices of the Greek olive oil in the Canadian mar­ket, the report sug­gested.

Furthermore, Tunisia has intro­duced a pro­mo­tional pol­icy mar­ket­ing its olive oil as a prod­uct of a Mediterranean coun­try with a thou­sands-years-old tra­di­tion in olive oil pro­duc­tion and renowned cui­sine. Greece, on the other hand, has largely failed to do the same.

While sev­eral pro­duc­ers from Greece have man­aged to put their bot­tled olive oil on super­mar­ket shelves, a large part of Greek olive oil is still exported to Canada in bulk, under­min­ing any effort to achieve higher prices in the mar­ket.

The Covid-19 pan­demic also has made con­sumers in the vast North American coun­try turn to food prod­ucts with a clean label, mean­ing they con­tain no preser­v­a­tives or arti­fi­cial col­ors. Canadian con­sumers are also increas­ingly search­ing out func­tional foods rich in pro­tein, vit­a­mins and antiox­i­dants, the report noted.

In order for Greek olive oil to gain more ground, a sys­tem­atic pro­mo­tion of its qual­i­ties and health ben­e­fits is required.

The strat­egy could include in-store pro­mo­tion and olive oil tast­ing events, pro­mot­ing Greek cui­sine through culi­nary tele­vi­sion shows and social media mar­ket­ing, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in fairs, exhi­bi­tions and gas­tron­omy fes­ti­vals around Canada.

More impor­tantly, how­ever, Greek olive oil needs to be imprinted on Canadians’ minds as a pure and qual­ity choice for their every­day table, the report con­cluded.

Greek olive oil should take advan­tage of the sit­u­a­tion of increased inter­est for a healthy Mediterranean diet in Canada and project the advan­tages of authen­tic­ity and tra­di­tion, and the unique­ness of fla­vor, acid­ity and aroma,” the authors of the report wrote, in order to link them to terms like health, qual­ity and purity in the con­sumers’ mind.”





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