ECONOMY

Food exports thrive in pandemic

food-exports-thrive-in-pandemic

The food sector showed its strength during the pandemic, with Greek exports gaining ground and creating the necessary conditions for their further penetration of international markets.

Taking advantage of the coronavirus juncture, the sector can lay a claim to even higher market shares abroad, offering another 1.2 billion euros per annum, according to estimates. For that to happen, Greek enterprises in the sector will have to follow the example of five Greek products that stand out for their export-minded character: They are olives, honey, yogurt, kiwi fruit and apples.

Thanks to the positive health picture Greece displayed this spring, Greek food exports posted a 9% increase in the March-April 2020 period compared to a year earlier, at a time when overall Greek exports endured pressure that saw them drop by 7% (fuel exports excluded), according to a study by National Bank of Greece.

The lender’s report speaks of a great opportunity for Greek food products to consolidate their position in foreign markets given that this country was the only one in the European Union to register a rise in food orders from abroad in March and April: The export orders index rose to +13 points at the end of April, from +3 points at end-March. This reflects the fact that the majority of Greek food exporters reported an increase in orders from abroad for the coming months.

The NBG report took a closer look at the five examples of food exports that have outperformed other local produce and noted a number of key elements that have made the difference in their favor: Their focus on developed markets, their promotion in branded form (as opposed to bulk), and the targeting of premium markets, as opposed to mass markets.

Especially in the case of olives, the NBG analysts pointed out the significant share this Greek product has in international markets, accounting for 17% of volume, as well as a high average price – about 50% above the average rate – to hold the lead in the premium market. Olive exports soared from 190 million euros in 2009 to €452 million in 2019.