The largest fast food chain in Greece, Goody’s, is preparing all of its meals using olive oil instead of palm oil, and only extra virgin on their salads. The company called the policy a big step forward and said its menu was characterized by “great variety and the carefully selected ingredients founded on the values of Mediterranean cooking.”
According to company executives, the 2009 oil change took two years of preparations, and it was the first time that a restaurant chain started to use olive oil exclusively.
Such innovation is one reason Goody’s has become Greece’s leading restaurant chain, despite the competition from powerful multinational rivals like McDonald’s.
In another pioneering use, a meat producing company, Creta Farm, is using extra virgin olive oil in fermented dry and semi-dry meat products as an animal fat substitute. The fat is being removed by hand and the olive oil is incorporated into the products (turkey, sausages, ham and hot dogs) as a healthier ingredient.
Several of the products have been certified by the American Heart Association as heart-healthy meats and, even though the price is a little higher than the conventional products, the acceptance by consumers has exceeded expectations. Creta Farm’s production method has been patented in Greece and other European countries and the company is exporting its products to Spain, a major market for dried meats. The product’s success has led to legal actions from two rival food companies over the patented method.