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Greek Olives


The ground and climatic conditions of Greece favour the olive tree growth. The main classification of olive crops pertains to edible olives (edible) and olives for the production of olive oil, while there is also the mixed kind of olives. They are also separated to small sized and large sized olives, and to black and green olives, while the varieties of Greek olives are many indeed (Kalamon, Throuba, Koroneiki, Konservolia etc.)

Edible olives form one of Greeks' traditional nutrition products. Olives produced in Greece are regarded (from a taste and quality point of view) of the best world wide and certain Greek varieties (i.e. Kalamon olives) are known internationally. Moreover, for the intent of assuring their particular characteristics, certain olive varieties produced in Greece have the mark Protected Appellation of Origin.

Greek production was between 60 and 90 thousand tonnes annually for the last 10-year period, showing cyclic fluctuations. Greece is one of the largest production counties for edible olives in the world and it primarily produces black olives. During the last two (2) periods (1997 / 98 - 1998 / 99) domestic production represented 5 - 8% of the combined production worldwide and 15 - 20% of the total production in Europe.

The sector of edible olives is directly dependent on the weather conditions prevailing in the olive tree cultivation areas. Production is usually biannual (a "fine" production period is followed by a "bad" one) and for this reason demand is many times covered by means of reserves, which usually form a considerable amount.

Businesses, which are active in the sector, are supplied with olives from the scattered olive producers, they process them and package them in vases, cans or barrels. A significant presence in the sector is also that of the various co-operations and Unions of co-operations, which collect products from their members, they process them, package and sell them.

The sector in question is strongly export oriented. Edible olives find themselves among the first exported products of our country, as the largest part (larger than 2 / 3) of the domestic production is exported to European Union countries as well as to Third Countries. Of these quantities, significant parts pertain to "loose" products, the result being that the specific product is not introduced to the international market as Greek, but rather as a product of the countries which package it.

Actual domestic consumption of the product came up to between 20 and 30 thousand tonnes for the last seven (7) trade periods 1992 / 93 - 1998 / 99). About half of the domestic consumption has to do with self-consumption. The rest is traded primarily in its loose form and to a smaller extent packaged in consumer packaging.

Advertising and promotional efforts are anything from limited to non-existent. Part of the reason for this is that no companies with brand products have made a dynamic entry in the market. Moreover, even in retail stores one can find loose olives (in barrels), while demand focuses in various olive varieties (Kalamon Throuba etc.) and not on specific trademarks.

The costs from production to consumption are high. So price competition, primarily from Spain, Morocco and Turkey (which are also some of the prime edible olives producers) is great. As for the disposal of the product, it is primarily dependent on outside demand.

Market volume for edible olives is not expected to show significant variations in the immediate future. During this trade period (1999 / 00), actual domestic consumption is expected to steady itself at around 22 thousand tonnes. For the coming two (2) trade periods (2000 / 01 - 2001 / 02), on the basis of current market conditions, it is anticipated that edible olives consumption will vary around the area of 22 to 24 thousand tonnes, giving an average growth rate of around 5% (quantity wise). However, with intense advertising and promotion of the multiple benefits of the product on the human body and with an improvement of its image, the domestic market for edible olives could be significantly developed, together with exports.

Source: Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry



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