` Eurozone in Crisis, Olive Oil Marketers Shift Targets - Olive Oil Times

Eurozone in Crisis, Olive Oil Marketers Shift Targets

Sep. 26, 2012
Costas Vasilopoulos

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The sig­nif­i­cance of brand­ing and stan­dard­iz­ing in the olive oil indus­try has been stressed repeat­edly. Branding can estab­lish the qual­ity of a prod­uct and build its rep­u­ta­tion. More impor­tantly, the added value of brand­ing can yield prof­its on a par with the qual­ity of the prod­uct.

But today, as the major­ity of the Eurozone coun­tries are in the gloomy and steep paths of the lurk­ing finan­cial cri­sis, firms in the olive oil oil indus­try should be cau­tious: the European GDP as a whole shrank by 0.4 per­cent dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of 2012 com­pared to 2011, and the two biggest economies of the zone are in peril; Germany had a mar­ginal growth of 0.3 per­cent while growth in France has been stag­nant. Even Belgium, the hub of the euro zone, is start­ing to taste the bit­ter fla­vor of reces­sion with its growth falling back by 0.6 per­cent in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2012 com­pared to the first quarter.

Consumers’ pur­chas­ing power is con­stantly reduc­ing in Europe and soon they will be look­ing for cheaper prod­ucts as peo­ple in Greece have already done. So, olive oil pro­duc­ers and exporters should think twice before send­ing their bot­tles of branded extra vir­gin to the com­mon European market.

The obvi­ous solu­tion is to turn to other mar­kets and pro­mote their prod­ucts there. Russia and China are able to absorb vast quan­ti­ties of olive oil and already by this time some enter­pris­ing exporters have set up shop there. 

After par­tic­i­pat­ing in a com­mer­cial exhi­bi­tion in Moscow and hav­ing astounded the vis­i­tors with its top qual­ity prod­ucts, the Cretan Crissa Gea” orga­ni­za­tion sends its oil to Russian super­mar­kets and restau­rants. Next stop is the Szechuan region in China with its 80 mil­lion consumers. 

Then, there are other mar­kets not so promis­ing but open to new prod­ucts; Agrovim”, based in south­ern Greece, exports its olive oil to Dubai hav­ing prac­ti­cally monop­o­lized the mar­ket there.

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An alter­na­tive is to dif­fer­en­ti­ate and aim at spe­cific tar­get groups, a more demand­ing and mar­ket­ing-inten­sive process. Companies like Moria Elea” and Speiron” sell their ultra pre­mium extra vir­gin oil at extrav­a­gant prices: 500ml for €29 and €50 respec­tively and prices go up if you order it in a gift box. But every­thing is being taken care of down to the slight­est detail, from the bot­tle to the label and the cork, and of course the con­tent. These prod­ucts are not eas­ily located in the mar­ket or deli stores and their buy­ers are those who pur­sue per­fec­tion and can afford it.

Ways to pro­mote and sell olive oil in tur­bu­lent times do exist. They need pro­fes­sion­al­ism, per­sis­tence and open-minded people.


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