In the wake of the cooking oils crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, a campaign has been launched in Crete for the broad use of Cretan olive oil in restaurants and other foodservice establishments on the island.
The campaign aims to coax restaurant and tavern owners and hotel managers to opt for olive oil instead of the currently highly-priced and scarce sunflower oil and other vegetable oils regularly used in cooking.
The goal of the campaign is to promote the benefits of olive oil and convince consumers and food facilities owners that by properly using olive oil in cooking and frying, the use of vegetable oils is not the only option.
A group of regional and local entities, including the regional administration of Crete, the University of Crete and the Mediterranean University, the Cretan club of chefs and the Agrifood Synergy association of the island, have endorsed the initiative.
“By working together, we can turn the problem into an opportunity for our local [olive oil] producers,” said Stavros Tzadakis, the head of the agrifood association, referring to the scarcity of sunflower oil in the market due to the Russo-Ukrainian war.See Also:Greeks Follow a Hybrid Mediterranean Diet, Researchers Find
According to Fediol, the European Union’s vegetable oil and protein meal industry association, the lack of availability of sunflower oil “will be felt up to the consumer level” in Europe. The association said around 35 to 45 percent of the sunflower oil consumed in the E.U. comes from Ukraine. Imports have been currently put on hold due to the war.
“Consumption of olive oil can be significantly increased in hotels and other eating establishments, not only raw on salads but also for frying,” Tzadakis added. “Research has shown, after all, that, when it comes to frying, olive oil exhibits many advantages compared to vegetable oils.“
Maria Antonakaki, from the association of foodservice facilities of Crete, pointed out that the price of olive oil has been the main limiting factor for its broader use in the sector.
“It is important that [food] entrepreneurs are convinced to start using olive oil by means of a subsidy or other ways and begin cooperation with local producers,” Antonakaki said, adding that the sector has decided to make a complete turn to the Cretan cuisine with local products including Cretan olive oil.
“The goal of the campaign is to promote the benefits of olive oil and convince consumers and food facilities owners that by properly using olive oil in cooking and frying, the use of vegetable oils is not the only option,” Tzadakis added.
“On the contrary, olive oil, the ‘gold’ of the Cretan land, is the healthiest and currently the most economically viable option,” he concluded.