ATHENS – Despite selling much of its prized ‘green gold’ to other countries, particularly Italy, to sell in bulk and not aggressively market the product, Greek olive oil won another honor in the world rankings.
Greek flavored and gourmet olive oil products topped the Evoo 2021 Global Ranking (EVOOWR 2021), led by Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms, which won all awards in the Top 5 Flavored Oils of the Year 2021 category. , setting five new records, while nine other gourmet oils from the farm were ranked in the Global Top 25 and in the Best Flavored Oils of the Year 2021 categories.
EVOOWR tested 16,584 olive oil samples from 37 countries and 2,105 companies, which had already won awards in 29 international competitions, Kathimerini said in a report.
The company also finished second in the 2021 World’s Top 25 Flavor Oil Companies category, for a third consecutive year. The company also ranked among the top 20 olive oil companies in the world, out of 2,105 of those companies from 37 countries.
This showed another gourmet olive oil product that cannot easily be found on the shelves of supermarkets that stock big brands, as Greek manufacturers have been slow to market and export or advertise.
Yiannis Skiadas, who makes olive oil in a mountainside mill using Kalamata olives, perhaps the best in the world from a famous Peloponnese region, avoids the extra labor required to produce the top-quality product and instead sells it in bulk to Italian companies, who mix it into their own under Italian brands that show no sign of Greek influence.
“All of these middle steps are driving our costs up,” he told the Wall Street Journal in 2017 in a report showing how Greek companies are ceding recognition to one of its most valuable and prized products. .
Greece is the third largest producer of olive oil in the world, blessed with a perfect sunny climate and an ancient history in the making of the fabric which is one of the most important symbols of the country.
At the time, a report from the National Bank of Greece found that only 4% of branded oil in the world – unfortunately most of it inferior to Greece’s green gold – is Greek, and instead carries labels from a myriad of other countries where farmers and businesses have taken the time to go to foreign markets.
Greek olive oil producers have mostly limited themselves to making oil in bulk, unable or unwilling to invest in making the branded product that can fetch high prices in overseas markets.
That has started to change, even during the persistent COVID-19 pandemic, Olive Oil Times said earlier this year, reporting that exports of Greek bottled olive oil to countries in the European Union have increased from 7,561 tonnes in 2002 to 26,872 tonnes in 2019.
This is an increase of 355%, according to data from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade, published by Sevitel, the association of Greek olive oil bottlers.
There was a corresponding increase in extra-EU exports of standardized Greek olive oil, which rose from 7,290 tonnes in 2002 to 19,807 tonnes in 2019, a jump of 272%.
In total, standard Greek olive oil exports have increased from 14,851 tonnes to 46,679 tonnes, according to data from Sevitel, but just try to find some of the best that have won numerous global awards.
In the 2021 edition of the Olivinus International Olive Oil Competition in Argentina, Greek olive oils won 52 of the 243 awards. Competing with 419 olive oils from 17 countries, the Greek companies distinguished themselves in the largest olive oil competition in the southern hemisphere, a competition that many also consider to be the largest in South America. , reported the Greek Liquid Gold website.
During the 2021 edition of the London International Olive Oil Competitions (IOOC), with 924 entries from 35 countries judged by an international jury of 28 tasters, Greek companies won 233 awards, including 20 turntables.
When it opened this year, the Canadian International Olive Oil Competition (IOOC) attracted 411 extra virgin olive oils and flavored olive oils from 20 countries and Greek companies won 87 medals, more than any other country. This included six Platinum Awards for oils produced by four companies.
At the 2021 Athena International Olive Oil Competition (Athena IOOC), Greece won 179 prizes: 18 special prizes, 9 gold doubles, 49 gold, 52 silver and 51 bronze medals.
A newcomer to international competitions, AMG Karabelas, won the Best of Greece award for Laurel & Flame Fresh extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) from near ancient Olympia, the site added.
But the World’s Best Olive Oils site had no Greek companies in the top 20, even below those from Argentina, Uruguay, Australia and China, a strange contradiction given the number of awards that Greek companies have won elsewhere.