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Greece may surprise the world with strong economic growth if it implements the reforms

06 February 2012 / 18:02:27  GRReporter
5278 reads

Victoria Mindova

News about the state of the Greek economy is getting darker each passing day. In about a year, the number of unemployed people in the country has doubled and dozens of commercial and industrial enterprises declare bankruptcy every day. Prospects for the near future of the country are even more pessimistic, and the state of banks depends on the political decisions, which must be taken to solve the spreading crisis.

Throughout this hostile economic situation, there are still successful businesses in Greece that record profit in their accounting books, provide jobs and make plans for the future. One of them is the company GAEA, which produces and bottles extra virgin olive oil and other Mediterranean products and which is rated as one of the most progressive companies in the Greek market. It focuses on production and export and knows that the high production quality, consistency and efforts eventually pay off.

Its CEO Aris Kefalogiannis explained for GRreporter’s readers how to achieve success in times of recession. He stressed that the country must abandon the old way of thinking to recover. Kefalogiannis is clear that without reforms Greece will not get out of the morass of economic crisis, in which it is slowly and inexorably sinking.

GAEA has been recognized as one of the most successful Greek companies in a period of a deep crisis not only for the local economy, but for Europe too. What measures do you take to make GAEA achieve growth in a period of recession? What are the strong points of your company?

Gaea was founded in 1995 upon the realization that Greek agricultural food products, despite their inherent high quality and good taste, were absent from the international markets. Our company’s vision and mission is to offer high quality, authentic Greek products under the brand name Gaea with the aim to make the brand name “Gaea” an international brand synonymous with high quality, traditional, authentic and innovative Greek specialty food products, by promoting “meze” – the authentic Greek Mediterranean culinary experience. Thanks to our company’s strong position, Gaea is viewing the crisis as an opportunity to expand and assist other Greek businesses who are struggling to survive the collapse of the domestic market.

Given Gaea’s unrivalled international distribution network, the company is working with other Greek businesses that supply the very best authentic food products and it is developing joint ventures with the long term view of them taking these products to the international market together. The strongest points of our company are the uncompromised quality of our products, authenticity, innovation harmonically combined with tradition, value for money, excellence, environmental friendliness. These are the basic points that led our company to be the market leader in the specialty foods category in many international markets, gaining consumer’s loyalty for the quality and taste of our products despite the deep recession in Greece and the overall European crisis.

What percentage of GAEA production is orientated to the Greek market and how important is export for your company?

Gaea sells its products in most major markets across the world and exports account for 82% of our company’s annual turnover. The other 18% of turnover is achieved in the domestic market, where Gaea is the number one brand in the organic olive oil and organic olives category. Gaea manufactures all its products in a state-of-the-art factory using the highest quality natural and organic ingredients available. All of our products are 100% natural and free from additives or preservatives. Export is of vital importance for our company as our entire strategy is driven by Gaea’s vision, that is to be the absolute leader in the category of Greek Mediterranean cuisine, in the international fine foods arena! You cannot achieve this goal without having a strong presence in international markets.

Where is your export interest orientated? In which countries do you have an interest in gaining a wider market share?

Gaea has strong presence in most international markets yet our focus is in North Europe and the US. Our major markets are Germany, UK, USA, Russia and Scandinavia. According to Nielsen statistics Gaea is: the number 3 brand overall and leading Greek brand in the olive oil category in Germany, number 3 brand and leading Greek brand in the olives category in the UK, number 1 brand in the olives category in Norway and number 2 brand in the olive oil category in Norway, number 1 brand in the organic olive oil and organic olives category in Greece, number 3 brand in the olive oil category in Russia, while it is the fastest growing brand in the olive category in the US. In addition, Gaea is now expanding in Austria, Slovenia, Poland, Cyprus, China, Italy. Our goal is to gain wider market share in all the other countries where we already have a presence as well as to enter new markets such as the Balkan countries and the Arabian peninsula.  

Greek olive oil has been recognized as the finest in the world. Do you think that there is more to be done by the state to promote the local production? If ‘yes’, in what direction?

Greece has failed to systematically promote its olive oil and position it in accordance with the product's high quality and superior taste.  Certainly, the state can do much more to promote the local production in international markets by creating a national strategy that will strengthen reputation around Greek products and at the same time create a “myth” around Greek gastronomy and products.

Tags: EconomyCompaniesGAEAOlive oilExport
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