Greece About to Lose the Greek Yogurt Battle

Greece is about to lose the exclusivity of making Greek yogurt for delaying to register the product as having Protected Designation of Origin status, a capital.gr report says.

Early in August, the Ministry of Rural Development announced that it has decided to set up a 14-member working group on Greek yogurt. The task of the committee is to coordinate the preparation of the technical details of the application for registering Greek yogurt as a product with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) with the European Union.

The decision is coming several years late, long after the product has become a trend inside and outside the EU, but it is doubtful whether it will have a positive impact on the product and the primary production sector, the report says.

The move by the Ministry of Rural Development comes at a time when both the Czech Republic at country level and multinational corporations have regulated the production of local Greek style yogurt and make significant profits that they would lose if Greece had managed to make Greek yogurt a PDO product.

The announcement from the Ministry of Rural Development, the report says, coincides with the announcement of the annual results of FAGE dairy, the Greek company that actually created the Greek yogurt global trend several years back.

The results of the first half and second quarter, announced by the dairy industry of the Philippou family, show signs of decline. In the crisis-stricken Greek market, the volume in the semester dropped by 31.7%.

Internationally, in the first quarter FAGE sales in volume dropped by 5.1% in the United States and 7.7% in the United Kingdom. The only exception was the Italian market, where its sales volume increased by 3.3%.

But even bigger is the decline in sales volume in the second quarter. On the basis of the published financial data of the dairy company, its sales volume dropped by 8.5% in the second quarter.

Specifically, sales volume declined by 5.4%, 7.1%, 2.7% and 23.2% in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy and Greece respectively. This is a result of fierce competition from international players such as Chobani, General Mills, Danone, and others.

The report also says that this comes at a time when Techavio research predicts that the Greek yogurt market will grow by 7.73% per year between 2017-2021 and will reach annual sales of 3.86 billion dollars by then, from the 2.82 billion that it is expected to reach this year.