BUSINESS

Dairy industry oligopoly is a thing of the past

DIMITRA MANIFAVA

TAGS: Economy, Business

The milk price war that started in 2009, the reduction in demand for milk and yogurt due to the economic crisis, and the extensive promotional activities by certain supermarket chains, with suppliers following suit, have dramatically changed the picture of the dairy industry in Greece since the milk cartel case back in 2006.

The degree of concentration in the market is now very small, with the five big players accounting for just 40 percent of the dairy industry’s total turnover.

This market, whose size is estimated at 3 billion euros per year, is dominated by cheese (51 percent), ahead of milk (25 percent), yogurt (17 percent), powdered milk (3 percent), butter (2 percent) and cream (2 percent).

The biggest player is Dutch firm Friesland Campina, producer of the Nounou brand. It enjoys an 11.2 percent share in supermarket sales according to IRI. It is ahead of Optima (owned by the Panteliadis family), which has a very strong presence in cheese with the Epiros brand and others that give it an 8 percent market share. The top five also includes Delta (with 7.6 percent), Olympos (at 7.1 percent) and yogurt sector leader FAGE (with 5 percent).

Notably, cheese accounts for over 1.5 billion euros of annual turnover and is a domain that has not suffered as serious a blow from the crisis as others. Almost half of the cheese category’s sales are in feta, whose average price is growing.

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