ECONOMY

Food and drink exports grow

Food and drinks remain the strongest category in Greek exports, accounting for 17 percent of the total in the first seven months of the year, according to Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) and Hellenic Foreign Trade Board data issued on Tuesday.

Exports of food and drinks amounted to 2.1 billion euros in the January-July 2011 period, up by 6.2 percent from the same period last year. Compared with the first seven months of 2005 the increase comes to 48 percent.

The top 10 of Greece?s food and drinks includes fresh fruit, fish, prepackaged vegetables, prepackaged fruit, olive oil, cheese (led by feta) and alcoholic drinks, among others.

The bulk of olive oil exports (which have risen 14.9 percent within one year) are destined for Italy, followed by markets with many Greek expats, such as Germany, Canada and the US.

More encouraging is the fact that huge markets such as Russia and China are also showing a growing interest in Greek food and drink products. ELSTAT figures indicate that Russia is the fifth-biggest destination for Greek olive oil, while China is the eighth.