ATHENS – Greek olive oils are sweeping up more international prizes after long failing to market themselves and ceding the market to other countries – especially Italy which buys up Greek oil and puts its own brand on it.
But now with the awards comes a push to sell the green gold abroad, with Olix Oil seeing opportunities especially in Japan, which is turning toward using the Greek-made substance for cooking.
“We produce, bottle and market extra virgin olive oil of premium quality applying state-of-the-art technologies in all production stages,” Prodromos Saliagkas, the company’s Commercial Director told Olive Oil Times.
“Our vision is to be able to fulfill the needs of our customers anywhere in the world and familiarize them with Greek flavors,” he said, a process that begins in the groves of the Peloponnese.
The company’s fortunes are shining even more now after winning three Gold Awards at the the NYIOOC (New York International Olive Oil) 2022 World Competition, the biggest on the planet.
Olix has been around only since 2011 and, like many of Greece’s best, is hard to find on store shelves but has expanded international sales, starting in the next-door Balkans, but also the United States, Canada, Africa and Asia.
It’s in Japan where it has staked out its territory as the leading Greek olive oil, the site said, Saliagkas saying there is so much more potential there where top quality ingredients are prized.
“We have been the largest exporter of Greek olive oil to Japan for the last seven years,” he said. “The Japanese exhibit a high appreciation for quality, maybe more than all others,” Saliagkas added.
“We are also aware that Japan is a highly demanding market with many distinct characteristics, so we always ensure that our olive oil is of the best quality and has all the necessary specifications,” he said.
“A large swath of Japanese consumers have started to use olive oil as a healthy cooking ingredient more frequently since the trend toward healthy eating and organic food products started to grow in the country,” he also said.
Recent market research by the Greek Embassy in Tokyo has found that Japan ranks first among other Asian nations in the per capita consumption of olive oil, about half a kilo, miniscule by Greek standards.
The Japanese are becoming more intrigued by the Mediterranean Diet too, with olive oil because a key ingredient for many dishes and for cooking, and noted for its health benefits.
But Greek companies have a lot of catching up to do there as data from the Olive Council shows that Japan imported more than 60,000 tons of olive oil and olive pomace oil from 2020-21, most from Spain and Italy.
“The awards at NYIOOC have been such an important distinction and the best motivation to further develop and improve our company,” Saliagkas said. “They fill us with energy to continue offering the goods of the Greek land.”
Olix Oil is not content with supplying customers worldwide with its quality EVOOs (Extra Virgin Olive Oils) he said.
“We also want to strengthen the environmental influence of olive oil production This is achieved by always maintaining environmental awareness and by carefully selecting our partners and collaborators to contribute to our cause,” he said.
“We want our customers to get acquainted with the Greek flavors, which are celebrated everywhere in the world, and benefit from the top diet, the Mediterranean,” he told the site.