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.


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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