Nicky Giavroglou, CEO of Hellenic Fine Oils talks to Ambrosia Magazine about exports, the company’s policy to address each market’s needs separately and the recently appreciated importance of foods with health-protective properties.

Interview: Charitomeni Vonta

What are the basic products that Hellenic Fine Oils exports, and in which countries?
Our company exports many of its products, taking in account the requirements of each customer and each market separately. For this reason, it has developed a wide range of products, diverse both product (quality) and packaging wise, to meet these needs to the greatest extend.
The products that mainly interest foreign consumers are all extra virgin olive oil categories, such as Organic, Conventional, PDO / PGI, even aromatic oils. Usually, the special categories are unfortunately not of particular interest in the Greek market, while there is actual added value for the consumer. In each one of these categories, we offer product lines of the widest variety available, at the lowest cost possible.
Our products are being exported to America (USA, Colombia, Brazil etc.), Europe (Romania, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Sweden etc.), Asia (Singapore, Thailand etc.)

Which product do you consider as your star product and what do you think its competitive advantage is, in relation to similar products in the market?
If I were asked this question back in 2019, I think my answer would be Sparta Gold, our extra virgin olive oil, which is available in many markets and has won many awards. But, what are the criteria a product should meet, in order to be called a star product? Is the performance in sales criteria enough? My personal opinion is that we should not be looking at it under one single perspective. During the pandemic, I realized, like all of us, how important our health is. So, we created an RnD department, headed by Ms. Emilia Rigakou and we developed a new product, which belongs to a completely separate category of extra virgin olive oil, called Enigma which is high in polyphenols. This product has a specific health claim -against oxidative stress- under European legislation.
So, although this project is still in its infancy, I believe that we should all pay special attention and look out for our health, which starts with our diet. With this in mind, we now place special emphasis on launching products with health protection properties.

In terms of your export policy, what are the company’s target countries and what are the strategic moves you make to open these markets?
As I mentioned above, we pay special attention to the health-protective properties of olive oil, and our products in general. This means that we are targeting markets and audiences that are mature in nutrition education and are looking for information on the products they consume. The markets that are interested in such data are, for example, Austria, Germany, etc. We try to inform our partners or potential partners in as much detail as possible, so that they, too, can convince in turn, their own customers, the final goal being the appropriate and comprehensive promotion of our products.

What are the company’s next projects?
Our company is already in the middle of an investment program which focuses on the productivity and quality improvement. In addition, after the Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions, our participation in exhibitions has already started again, as we consider them very important for the promotion of Greek products abroad. Last, but not least, our research for new products is an ongoing process.