` Costco Reportedly Inks Deal with Greek Producer - Olive Oil Times

Costco Reportedly Inks Deal with Greek Producer

Oct. 27, 2014
Charlie Higgins

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Costco rep­re­sen­ta­tives toured the Botzakis olive oil pro­cess­ing facil­ity on Crete last week.

Costco has signed a deal with a Cretan pro­ducer to import olive oil every month to be sold through its mega­s­tores, accord­ing to sev­eral sources.

The agree­ment between America’s sec­ond-largest retailer and Botzakis, S.A., which first began export­ing olive oil to Australia in 2000, was signed on Friday in the Cretan cap­i­tal of Heraklion, the Greek press reported. Those present included Stavros Arnaoutakis, gov­er­nor of Crete; Alkiviadis Kalambokis, pres­i­dent of Cretan Export Association; and var­i­ous rep­re­sen­ta­tives from both com­pa­nies.

The terms of the deal were not dis­closed and reports in the Greek press var­ied, with some say­ing Costco would import 400 tons every month from Boutsakis, while oth­ers said that fig­ure rep­re­sented Costco’s total monthly needs, among its many sup­pli­ers.

Costco dis­trib­u­tor Tassos Chronopoulos said the com­pany rec­og­nized the qual­ity of Cretan olive oil as being among the high­est in the world. Costco has also expressed inter­est in bring­ing other Cretan prod­ucts to its stores, such as honey, herbs and wine.

In 2012, Chronopoulos told the New York Times that Greece’s dis­or­ga­nized agri­cul­tural busi­ness all but dis­qual­i­fied itself from par­tak­ing in the fancy-food craze of the past few decades.”

Until he found a reli­able part­ner, Chronopoulos said he con­stantly opened new ship­ments to see bot­tles with labels askew, wrin­kled or miss­ing. They do not under­stand,” he said, that a label not applied prop­erly will make the sales suf­fer.” It seems he found the right part­ner.

From left to right: Alkiviadis Kalambokis, pres­i­dent of Cretan Export Association, Costco dis­trib­u­tor Tassos Chronopoulos, John Botzakis, and Stavros Arnaoutakis, gov­er­nor of Crete

The qual­ity of Cretan prod­ucts is their pass­port to mar­kets abroad,” said Arnaoutakis. Chronopoulos added, Cretan olive oil has won many awards in com­pe­ti­tions in America, Argentina to Canada to Mexico.”

Costco is the largest mem­ber­ship ware­house club chain in the United States and cur­rently the third largest retail com­pany in the world.

Last year, a ship­ment of 98 cargo con­tain­ers from another major Costco olive oil sup­plier, Certified Origins Italia, was detained by the FDA in the ports of New York and Seattle due to an import alert.

An FDA import alert pro­vides that ship­ments may be sub­ject to deten­tion with­out a phys­i­cal exam­i­na­tion if the ship­per fails to pro­vide an analy­sis indi­cat­ing the food is free of ille­gal residues of the cited pes­ti­cides. The FDA said its own phys­i­cal test­ing dis­closed the pes­ti­cide chlor­pyri­fos in the Certified Origins ship­ment, but later removed the alert and let the ship­ment through.

Founded by three broth­ers raised in a Cretan vil­lage, Botzakis, S.A. cur­rently exports olive oil to over a dozen coun­tries through­out Europe, Asia and the Americas.


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