Greek Olive Oil Industry Groups Merge

The Greek olive oil packers’ associations, Sevitel and Esvite, officially merged following a unanimous decision by the general assemblies of the members of both organizations.

Nov. 27, 2017
By Lisa Radinovsky

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In September, the two Greek olive oil pack­ers’ asso­ci­a­tions, Sevitel and Esvite, offi­cially merged into one under Sevitel, the Association of Greek Industries and Packers of Olive Oil, fol­low­ing a unan­i­mous deci­sion by the gen­eral assem­blies of the mem­bers of both orga­ni­za­tions. Given the new real­ity, it was con­sid­ered that a sin­gle asso­ci­a­tion of olive oil pack­ers would be the best solu­tion in the case of Greece,” accord­ing to Panayiotis Karantonis, for­mer direc­tor of Esvite, the Greek Association of Olive Oil Processors and Packers, and now deputy direc­tor of Sevitel.

A sin­gle asso­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing the olive oil indus­try in Greece implies a stronger voice to deal with the chal­lenges Greek olive oil is fac­ing both domes­ti­cally and abroad.- George Economou, Sevitel

George Economou, direc­tor of Sevitel, explained that sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ences between the two asso­ci­a­tions never existed, given that their mem­bers were fac­ing the same major prob­lems: on the one hand the rel­a­tively small vol­ume of packed branded olive oil con­sumed domes­ti­cally, and on the other hand the rel­a­tively small share of packed branded Greek olive oil in the world mar­ket.”

Established in 1964, accord­ing to Economou, Sevitel was the first asso­ci­a­tion that aimed to serve and sup­port the inter­ests of the olive oil indus­try in Greece. Its mem­bers were the largest olive oil pack­ing com­pa­nies in the coun­try.

Esvite was set up in 1987 to express and pro­mote the inter­ests of Greece’s small and medium-size olive oil pack­ing com­pa­nies. Karantonis believed the par­al­lel exis­tence of the two asso­ci­a­tions would inevitably lead, sooner or later, to a merger in order to have a sin­gle insti­tu­tional entity, strong enough to express, sup­port, and pro­mote the inter­ests of the Greek olive oil indus­try both on a national and inter­na­tional level.”

Sevitel is a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that rep­re­sents Greek olive oil pro­cess­ing and pack­ag­ing com­pa­nies and coop­er­a­tives as well as olive oil exporters. Sevitel informs its mem­bers about Greek and EU reg­u­la­tions and stan­dards as well as other issues impor­tant to the olive oil indus­try, such as olive oil qual­ity, pro­duc­tion, mar­ket­ing, and the inter­na­tional mar­ket. It orga­nizes events rel­e­vant to the olive oil sec­tor and helps finance sci­en­tific research about olive oil’s health ben­e­fits.

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It also runs the Sevitel Organoleptic Lab, which is accred­ited by the National Accreditation System (ESYD) and rec­og­nized by the International Olive Council — one of just three labs with that sta­tus in Greece, accord­ing to Karantonis. Since 2000, Sevitel has par­tic­i­pated in pro­mo­tional pro­grams par­tially financed by the European Union and the Greek gov­ern­ment, help­ing to inform the gen­eral pub­lic about olive oil.

As part of its efforts on behalf of the Greek olive oil indus­try, Sevitel works with many other Greek and inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions and offices engaged with indus­try, com­merce, label­ing, pro­mo­tion, and export. For exam­ple, Sevitel is a mem­ber of the International Olive Council Advisory Committee on Olive Oil and Table Olives, the Olive Oil Section of the Advisory Committee on Oils and Fats of the European Commission, the European Federation of Olive Oil Industries (Fedolive), the North American Olive Oil Association, and the Australian Olive Oil Association. It is also the legal rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Greek olive oil indus­try in the offi­cial bod­ies of Greece and the European Union.

As Karantonis reported, the first efforts of the two asso­ci­a­tions to join together go back to 2012.” That year, Sevitel and Esvite decided to work as equal part­ners to set up the Greek Center for Exports and Promotion of Olive Oil (EKEPE). EKEPE pro­vided the nec­es­sary plat­form for the two asso­ci­a­tions to work together more closely, to under­stand each other bet­ter, and above all to real­ize that they were fac­ing the same prob­lems and chal­lenges.” In 2015, this led to a dis­cus­sion about merg­ing. The Greek eco­nomic cri­sis that began in 2010 was also a deci­sive fac­tor for the merger,” since a merger allowed the ben­e­fit of economies of scale.”

According to Economou, a sin­gle asso­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing the olive oil indus­try in Greece implies a stronger voice to deal with the chal­lenges Greek olive oil is fac­ing both domes­ti­cally and abroad,” where com­pe­ti­tion from the other olive oil pro­duc­ing coun­tries is fierce. The merger allows the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Greek olive oil pack­ers and exporters to work together more effi­ciently.





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