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Greek trademarked products - many in number but with a small market share

28 May 2014 / 17:05:40  GRReporter
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The insufficient support for certification through a single long-term national strategy combined with the vacuum that is typical for the process of standardization in Greece are the main obstacles to the prospects for serious growth that the Greek agricultural products with protected designation of origin and protected geographical instructions may face (mainly in foreign markets).

Through Naftemporiki newspaper, factors of the agricultural sector indicate that "the recognition of local agricultural products as products with protected designation of origin and protected geographical indications is a serious tool as it improves their reliability and adds value to them. Especially producers in remote areas have the opportunity to more easily sell local products with specific characteristics and increase their incomes through better market prices."
However, it is clear that the insufficient use of this tool leads to the loss of significant opportunities for the primary economic sector.

As stated in the study of Infobank Hellastat on the local manufacture of products with protected designation of origin and protected geographical indications prepared by Alexis Nikolaidis, Economic Research & Sectoral Studies Analyst, the market share held by the Greek products is much smaller than the share that corresponds to the high number of recognized products. This is attributed mainly to the fact that the certification is not adequately supported by a single long-term national strategy while, at the same time, the sales of bulk products lead to unfair competition in the sector.

In particular, according to the research data, the European Commission has so far formally recognized 101 Greek products of vegetable and animal origin, 74 of which are with protected designation of origin and 27 with protected geographical indications. These figures rank the country 5th on the list of the European Union (EU) member states. However, Greece has a much smaller share in the EU in terms of revenue from these products.

In particular, the figures of Infobank show that in 2012 Greece produced a total of about 150,000 tons of products with protected designation of origin and protected geographical indications, their market value being 650 million euro. However, 2/3 of the total amount produced was consumed in the domestic market and the remaining 1/3 was exported, mainly to the EU.

The total market value of certified products manufactured in the EU-28 amounted to 50 billion euro but Greece’s share was only 1.3% of the total share. The largest market share was held by Italy (33%), Germany (25%), France (17%) and the UK (8%).

Indicative is the fact that Greece has a larger number of recognized products compared to Germany and Great Britain, which shows the still low development level of the sector in the country.
At the same time, the domestic consumption of many of the products shrank as, due to their reduced income, consumers turned to cheaper goods. For example, in the first half of 2013 sales of feta cheese fell by 4.6% in volume and by 4.2 % in value compared to the same period in 2012.

Under these circumstances, Infobank research indicates that the solution for the Greek products is foreign markets, where, however, "the products are usually sold at lower prices compared to the prices of products of other countries (e.g., feta cheese, olive oil, wines)."

According to Chrisostomos Katsis, CEO of Infobank Hellastat, "the prospects for Greek products with protected designation of origin and protected geographical indications are definitely positive in view of the fact that the majority of consumers are already aware of the importance of healthy eating as well as of the support for traditional local production.

Greek products must aim at foreign markets where, on the one hand, current demand is significant but holds a smaller share than that deserved by the products because of their high quality."

Although the Greek products with protected designation of origin or geographical indications are considered to be of high quality, few of them manage to be subject to export and gain a significant market share abroad due to their certification.

Typical examples are feta cheese, various types of table cheese, kalamon olives and others, the export performance of which is not considered as corresponding to their high quality (e.g. the share of feta cheese in the international white cheese market is only 28%). Conversely, the majority of these products are sold mainly in Greece, as was before their recognition on the part of the EU.

A blow to the sector is the unfair competition that reigns in it due to the sale of bulk products and the presence of false certificates.

New certification marks

In view of the fact that maintaining high quality is a key EU policy, procedures are underway for the introduction of three new certification marks that will be associated with the products manufactured in mountainous and island regions as well as with the production of traditional products.

These certification marks will supplement the existing quality marks and will act as serious tools for increasing both the value of the products and their exports.

Tags: Products with protected designation of origin Protected geographical indications
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