Kostas Liris giving his presentation at the FHC Olive Oil Summit

Last month, two Greek olive oil experts were invited to share their knowledge at the Olive Oil Summit of the Food & Hotel China (FHC) 2018 exposition at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. Eleftheria Germanaki and Kostas Liris appreciated this opportunity to reach out to Chinese professionals who work with the growing Chinese olive oil market.

Loutraki Oil Company's Athanasios Katsetos at his desk, with Elea olive oil containers on it

Drawn by an interest in health benefits and sustainable production, professionals from fields like law, medicine, and jewelry making have been turning to Greek olive oil. Loutraki Oil Company’s Athanasios Katsetos and Maria Guadagno Katsetos share with evo3’s Stratis G. Camatsos a dedication to using Greek extra virgin olive oil to help improve the world.

Ioannis Kampouris teaching students in a Greek classroom

Two teachers from Greek olive oil producing families decided to turn their interest in the sustainable production of olives and olive oil into new business ventures. Growing olives in two areas in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece, they have found different ways to combine olive oil production with their dedication to teaching.

Chloe Dimitriadis discussing the traditional olive oil production process with tourists

What do a Greek-Canadian graduate of the political science department at McGill University in Montreal and a Greek translator who studied in Corfu and worked in Athens have in common? Olive oil. Both of these educated young women decided to return to the Greek island of Crete where they grew up and dedicate themselves to their family’s olive oil businesses.

Olive oil flowing into a vat, with blue sky and clouds reflected in the oil

Why have professionals such as teachers, lawyers, translators, political scientists, and medical students turned to olive oil production and exports in the last decade? Questioning a number of Greeks who are now working with olive oil, Greek Liquid Gold received a wide variety of responses that sparked a series of articles. This is the first in the series.

people eating and talking at the World Olive Day event in Grecotel's restaurant

The second World Olive Day 2018 event in Crete focused on developing the vast potential for olive oil tourism on this Greek island. Experts presented a wealth of information about olive oil in archaeology, history, the diet, hotels, museums, factories, farms, tastings, and seminars, plus other activities and sites to visit, including monumental olive trees.

Participants sitting at a long table for a guided tasting session

An informative World Olive Day event in Crete focused on the optimal use of olive oil in restaurants. Cretan politicians, experts, chefs, and an olive oil judge shared data and suggestions for using and tasting olive oil and linking it to tourism. An awards ceremony for five olive mills was followed by a guided olive oil tasting session and a light lunch.

ELAWON's 50 milliliter spray perfume bottle containing olive oil

This year, a Greek law requires restaurants to replace the refillable olive oil containers on their tables with sealed, non-refillable or disposable, properly labeled bottles. Offering various bottles to restaurants, Greek olive oil companies are ready to showcase the high quality and health benefits of appropriately packaged Greek extra virgin olive oil.

Four small bottles of Nature Blessed olive oil and flavored olive oil on a table

Since January 1, a new law in Greece has mandated that the olive oil on restaurant tables be served in sealed, non-refillable or disposable, properly labeled bottles instead of the refillable glass containers commonly used in the past. Greek olive oil industry experts hail this change as beneficial for both consumers and the Greek olive oil world.

olives on branches, against blue sky

Given varying estimates for worldwide olive oil production in the last few months, it is useful to compare predictions from respected sources. The consensus is that production will increase in the 2017/18 harvest year. Although the leading producer, Spain, will offer less olive oil, greater output from other countries will more than compensate for that. 

A harvester picking olives by hand in Yanni's Olive Grove, Chaldiki, northern Greece

Predictions for Greek olive oil production in the 2017/18 crop year range from 270,000 to 300,000 metric tons, with the higher number indicating a 54% increase over last year. Greek specialists and olive oil companies who offer their perspectives from various parts of the country provide more details about expectations for this year’s Greek olive oil.

Vasilis Pyrgiotis standing next to International Olive Council symbols, a globe with an olive branch under a sculpture of a bird

Vasilis Pyrgiotis, the new chairperson of the Copa and Cogeca Working Party on Olive Oil and Table Olives, recently discussed the Greek and European olive sector with Greek Liquid Gold, emphasizing the importance of pan-European cooperation and smart farming, as well as promotional campaigns—for example using branded olive oil bottles on restaurant tables.

Children onstage in front of an audience, with some dancing around a giant olive

This year’s first World Olive Day event in Crete offered a glimpse of some Cretan olive oil sector activities, successes, and concerns. Scientists gave advice on olive oil extraction, trading, and olive mill waste management and reviewed developments in olive oil production and exports, then children presented a play, and olive mills received awards.

Audience members tasting olive oil at a seminar in Chania, Crete

A recent event hosted by the Chania Chamber of Commerce and Industry on "International Olive Oil Competitions: The Road to Distinction" revealed that the olive oil of the prefecture of Chania continues its upward course, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Drawing more than 65 participants, the event sparked the interest of many olive oil producers.

olive leaves and olives glowing in the evening light

The first estimates of the amount of olive oil to be produced by the major olive oil producing nations in the next crop year (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018) were published recently. While there is naturally some disagreement, and it is early to make predictions, a significant increase over this year’s olive oil production levels seems likely.

closeup of green olives hanging on a tree, with other olive trees in the background

Although recent news headlines warn of soaring olive oil prices, these increases are neither universal nor uniform. The world has seen lower olive oil production levels this decade, and excellent extra virgin olive oil is still available at prices that are more than reasonable given the work put into creating its high quality and striking health benefits.

Alexandra Devarenne in front of the Acropolis in Athens

A good Greek extra virgin olive oil is “an amazing value for the quality of the product; it’s really well priced in the American market,” says American olive oil expert Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne. With a “great fondness for Greece” and an interest in Greek culture, Devarenne argues that “Greek olive oil hasn’t made the mark it deserves in the US market.”

Part of a clear bottle of olive oil on a wooden table with sea and land view in the background

From New Orleans to Chicago, from Washington to London, headlines trumpet,  “We’re about to suffer a worldwide olive oil shortage,” and “Olive Oil Prices Are Going Through the Roof”! Is it really that bad? Yes, olive oil production is down, demand and prices are up, but the numbers and supply in Greece and Spain suggest there is really no need to panic.

olives in a large crate on a forklift outside the mill of Yanni's Olive Grove

A number of Greek extra virgin olive oils were recently recognized as some of the most highly awarded olive oils in the world, based on their success in international olive oil competitions. Greek olive oil producers consider these distinctions an affirmation of their hard work, attention to detail, and ceaseless efforts to create excellent products.

snowy trees and hills in Crete

“The unusual weather--snow, ice, and very low temperatures--affected almost all the major olive-oil producing areas” in Greece, according to the directors of the major Greek olive oil industry organizations, Panayiotis Karantonis (ESVITE) and George Economou (SEVITEL). Most importantly, they add, this weather hit after the olive harvest was mainly finished.

conveyor belts at Terra Creta's olive unloading area outside its olive mill

On November 24, Fotis Sousalis, General Manager of Terra Creta olive oil company in Crete, Greece, was invited to make a presentation at the European Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) Week celebration in Brussels. The event was hosted by the European Economic & Social Committee to highlight the key role SMEs play in Europe’s food and drink sector.

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