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Quality adds economic value to olive oil and table olives

Press Release

“Quality adds economic value to olive oil and table olives”: this was the topic of the conference held yesterday by the Society of Olive and Olive Oil Products of Certified Quality (EL3P). The Conference Room of the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA), where the event was held, was packed with people and the event lasted until late in the evening.

Professor Epaminondas Paplomatas (photo, left), Deputy Dean of the University, during his opening speech, reaffirmed AUA’s outward orientation and openness that will help the University become a center of research and knowledge. Pomology professor Stavros Vemmos  (photo, right), during his speech on olive growing and its prospects, announced the creation of the AUA’s Olive Laboratory.

The main speaker, Mrs. Alexandra Devarenne, co-founder of the Extra Virgin Alliance (EVA) made a very detailed presentation of the situation in the US and the world olive oil market and consumers’ preferences. She also spoke about the stable growth of authentic extra virgin olive oil.

Professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology of Foods, Efstathios Panagou, spoke about table olives. His presentation was focused on sensory evaluation of table olives, an important “tool” that helps evaluate and protect the quality of table olives.

Three vertically integrated companies (production/ processing/ standardization) took the floor. Fotis Sousalis (Terra Creta, Chania), (left), Dimitris Polimenakos (Maxouli, Gytheio – Laconia) (right) and Kostas Protoulis (Plomari, Lesvos), (center) gave presentations of their companies. They also mentioned the various problems they face, due to unfair competition (high quality and high value products are extremely sensitive to it), but also due to the general negative situation rural economy is facing.

Aris Kefalogiannis, vice president of El3P and Managing Director of GAEA, also added that Greece has entered a vicious cycle that is threatening the Olive sector and can lead to its disappearance, similar to the case of other “national products of Greece” like raisins and tobacco.

The event was coordinated by Vasilis Zambounis, founder and director of El3P and ended with a Q&A session, where the audience took the floor. The interaction with the audience proved that there is great interest for this kind of public events and how useful they are.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Tsironis, was represented by Mrs. Lymperopoulou, who also intervened on the issue of olive mills' waste / byproducts, while Mrs. Dimitra Aliefs, SOVENA GROUP, (photo) made a realistic assessment of Greek olive oil’s position on the world map and spoke on the growing buyers’ demands for safe and high quality olive oil.

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