`Greek Olive Oil Producers Turn to China - Olive Oil Times

Greek Olive Oil Producers Turn to China

Aug. 6, 2013
Marissa Tejada

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Greek olive oil pro­duc­ers are look­ing east for new busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties in the midst of a cri­sis.

The eco­nomic cri­sis is mak­ing every­one think about other ways to sell and China is an untapped oppor­tu­nity for Greek pro­duc­ers,” said George Kouvelis, gen­eral man­ager and orga­nizer of Eleotechnia, a yearly olive oil exhi­bi­tion held in Athens.

In an inter­view with Olive Oil Times, Kouvelis said olive oil makes up only one per­cent of China’s edi­ble veg­etable oils mar­ket which is esti­mated to total 42 mil­lion tons. It’s just one of the rea­sons he has sched­uled a new event this fall, a spe­cial work­shop called Shanghai and Olive Oil to help Greek olive oil pro­duc­ers sell and pro­mote their prod­ucts in the Chinese mar­ket.

Kourvelis’s ini­tia­tive makes sense. In 2012, China became Greece’s fourth largest export mar­ket for vir­gin olive oil behind Italy, Germany and the U.S. There is a need for this kind of infor­ma­tion and train­ing. We find our prod­uct has a lot of poten­tial in China where it’s con­sid­ered very spe­cial and often offered as a gift or for med­i­c­i­nal use,” said Kouvelis.


Kouvelis said olive oil exports to China were so low in the recent years that the cur­rent inter­est in the mar­ket appears very impres­sive. According to Greek Statistics Bureau, EL.Stat., Greek vir­gin olive oil exports to China grew at 160 per­cent from 2010 – 2012.

We’re also work­ing with the Greek embassies in China to put Greek olive oil pro­duc­ers in front of the right peo­ple to make the right oppor­tu­ni­ties hap­pen,” said Kouvelis. At the Shanghai and Olive Oil work­shop, busi­ness lead­ers will dis­cuss how to con­duct busi­ness to busi­ness meet­ings with Chinese com­pa­nies and find oppor­tu­ni­ties to mar­ket Greek olive oil at food exhi­bi­tions in China.

China’s chunk of the Greek olive oil export indus­try is gain­ing momen­tum. While it has been reported that China’s share stands at $8.5 mil­lion out of a $263 mil­lion dol­lar indus­try, that num­ber has dou­bled in recent years sur­pass­ing both Canada and Russia.

There’s a vast oppor­tu­nity in China and a chance for qual­ity Greek olive oil pro­duc­ers to truly reach that mar­ket,” said Kouvelis.


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