After promising reports of increased Greek olive oil sales to Germany and China the past 12 months when exports shot up 24 percent and 68 percent, respectively, the Greek Ministry of Agriculture now anticipates exports to Europe and overseas will further rise in 2013. The optimism is partly fueled by the newly adopted European regulation determining that certain olive oils can bear the sign “Olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.”
Greek olive oil, usually made with Koroneiki olives, is particularly rich in polyphenols, and many olive oil associations and independent producers have contacted the ministry to have their products tested and thereafter permitted to bear the coveted inscription.
The regulation is strict, allowing this distinction only for olive oils containing at least 5mg of hydroxytyrosol per 20g of oil, but if the prerequisites are fulfilled, opportunities for increased exports and better prices for Greek olive oil could make the extra effort worthwhile.
Moreover, the ministry contemplates launching a special website targeting foreign markets in order to presents all the characteristics of Greek olive oil. An olive oil ‘Atlas’ is also on the way, listing every olive oil of Greece labeled as PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), and a description of their qualities.
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Greek olive oil producers are hopeful, if these new tools are properly used and the new opportunities are fully exploited, there could be a significant improvement in Greek olive oil exports.