`World's Most Expensive Olive Oil Brand Splits with Supplier - Olive Oil Times

World's Most Expensive Olive Oil Brand Splits with Supplier

Dec. 3, 2010
Olive Oil Times Staff

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Lambda, the high-design olive oil with the sticker shock price tag and its sup­plier, the award-win­ning Kritsa Cooperative on Crete have parted ways, a source at the coop­er­a­tive told Olive Oil Times. Business dis­agree­ments were cited as the cause of the split.

Lambda was started by Giorgos Kolliopoulos who devel­oped the con­cept of the ultra pre­mium” olive oil in 2007 through his lux­ury food and bev­er­age com­pany, Speiron based in Athens.

In an inter­view ear­lier this year, Kolliopoulos said From my exten­sive research, knowl­edge and just my love of olive oil, I found grow­ers in Kritsa doing an amaz­ing job among some of the old­est olive trees in all of Greece. There the acid­ity is con­stantly low. Plus Lambda is pro­duced with extra con­trol mea­sures. Only a cer­tain amount can be pro­duced yearly.”

The mod­ern themed pack­ag­ing and optional per­son­al­iza­tion earned the brand cov­er­age in design mag­a­zines and on the shelves of lux­ury gift shops. But that pub­lic­ity seems to not have been enough to move the pub­lic to buy the olive oil, and sales only amounted to about 800 liters last year accord­ing to the coop­er­a­tive, which pro­duces an aver­age of around 500,000 liters annu­ally.

At $185 per liter, Lambda alone occu­pied the top price point for extra vir­gin olive oil. Yet the olive oil to fill Lambda bot­tles was straight from Kritsa’s nor­mal pro­duc­tion, say offi­cials at the coop­er­a­tive — the same oil for which the coop’s farm­ers were paid 2.70 Euros (US$ 3.57) last year. That means Lambda’s retail price was nearly 52 times what was paid to the pro­ducer of the oil.

The 1,000-member Kritsa Cooperative is a peren­nial award-win­ner, man­ag­ing to achieve con­sis­tently high qual­ity due to its ideal micro­cli­mate and quick pro­cess­ing, among other advan­tages. It was the top win­ner of the 2008 Mario Solinas Award for the medium-fruity cat­e­gory, for exam­ple.

At a time when world olive oil prices have hit his­toric lows, and con­sumers are more con­cerned with intrin­sic value than pack­ag­ing design and sta­tus sym­bols, the response to Lambda, and other con­cept olive oils, could be less than mar­keters hope for.

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