23 Nov

Turkish Olive producers move toward trademarks

The president of the Olive and Olive Oil Union has said their long-term target is to use only trademarked products in their export operations.

Olive and Olive Oil Union President Cahit Çetin spoke with the Anatolia news agency yesterday. He said his union is number one in Turkey for the export of packaged olive products, holding a 20 percent share. It has increased sales abroad through its newly opened stores in the US, Canada and Germany, where consumer bought a total 3,000 tons of trademarked products. Çetin noted that these stores have also worked as liaison offices in establishing business ties with the domestic sellers of other countries, thus opening up new sale points.

Çetin stated that the value added through the sales of trademarked products is much higher than for bulk goods. He said the “Made in Turkey” label on the olive packages would mean a lot for them in terms of indicating the quality of their olives. Çetin revealed that it is the goal of the union to eventually deal only in the export of trademarked products.

Much of Turkey’s olive export is in bulk. Çetin noted that Italians buy Turkish olives in bulk, producing oil from these olives and selling it in elegant bottles for much higher prices. “However, Turkish producers are becoming increasingly more aware of the opportunities. They have now pulled away from the mentality of ‘sell at any price’, and now they are trying to make greater profits by processing and adding more value to their goods.”

Turkey is the world’s fourth-largest olive producer after Spain, Italy and Greece as of the 2006-2007 season. According to information from the Aegean Exporters’ Union (EİB), Turkey’s total olive oil exports decreased by 11 percent to 42,389 tons in the last season, which started on Nov. 1, 2006, and ended on Oct. 31, 2007, over the previous season. However, the income earned from exports has retreated even more, dropping 28 percent to $145 million in the same season.

Kristal, an important player in the domestic olive market, is one of the companies enjoying greater profits by moving toward packaged and trademarked products. Ayhan Baran, the vice chairman of the company, also asserts that Turkey is seeing a trend toward the export of value-added goods rather than bulk sales. He says through the years they never gave up on the policy of having a strong trademark, even at times when it was not profitable. “But now we have attained what we wanted. Our brand has become a wanted brand in many countries where we sell our products. Today most of the companies in this business have realized the importance of a strong brand,” Baran said, adding that the future lies in the exports of packaged and trademarked goods.

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