New Year 2021

23 Page 42 With a changing shift in consumer awareness to sustainable living, many shoppers want to understand the ethics behind where their hard- earned cash is being spent. This movement has been a perfect fit with The Premium Greek Olive Oil Company, which avidly advocates social consciousness and encourages both consumers and suppliers to see the value of “giving back” to communities. It runs at the heart of the company’s philosophy with a slogan of “buy a bottle, plant a tree, give life” referring to the fact that for every one of its high quality olive oils sold, a tree will be planted in a deforested area in Africa while helping a person in those impoverished regions. On top of that, the company supports Magic Breakfast schemes that help ensure children get enough to eat and there’s a spirit of education behind its business. They not only encourage consumers to learn about the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, but also teach them how to consume it and recognise the difference between a quality olive oil and a fraudulent one. “We want to encourage consumers to change the way they look at food and provide ways that olive oil can be incorporated in everyday food presentation,” says Leonie. “Our culture is one of caring. We care about our customers - ensuring an excellent level of customer service; we care about our olives and the oil they produce, and the benefits that can be created by planting trees; and we care about the needs of the staff and provide support when required,” adds Leonie. Educating shoppers on how to tell the difference between real and fake olive oil is a move aimed at helping combat fraud and low-quality products in the supply chain - among the main challenges facing today’s olive oil industry. At a time when social consciousness and responsibility is coming to the fore, The Premium Greek Olive Oil Company stands out for not just its high-quality products but also its business ethics. We spoke to company director Leonie Mirmikidis about how its “culture of caring” is good for business as well as the environment. The Premium Greek Olive Oil Company Best Premium Mediterranean Olive Oil Importer - UK Leonie explains that lack of transparency and fraud in the supply chain have even been highlighted in the potential post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and US that could see food with lower safety standards end up on British plates. “Covid-19 exacerbated the situation and showed that long, ambiguous supply chains caused many problems for the whole industry,” adds Leonie. “In the olive oil sector, fraud has been rampant for many years with criminals flooding the market with adulterated olive oil, selling it as higher quality olive oil than what is actually in the bottle.” While the company has focused on direct sales to consumers, it is now expanding its reach to work closer with retail partners to stock its high- quality products in stores. But the essence of the business model remains the same with the three foundational pillars of transparency, traceability and social responsibility. They have led the company to have its olive oil certified with the Ethically Sourced kitemark and, later this year, it is set to become part of an ethical supply chain - the Ethically Sourced Network. This will allow its olive oils to have traceability throughout the supply chain, in a move aimed to be open and honest with its customers. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Leonie deems “honesty, authenticity and a passion for what you do” as qualities for success in the food sector. “It is imperative that the consumer comes along with you on your journey, and is a part of your microcosmic, special world,” explains Leonie. “There is a symbiosis between your product and the person who will enjoy consuming it and this needs to be developed and nurtured for. “Once a business starts with these things in mind, then everyone will not only respond to your passion, but also celebrate it. “Our aim is for everyone to share the passion and love for the olive tree, olives and olive oil. We not only want everyone to be a part of our story, but also to be a part of our greater journey of making their choice count.” Company: The PremiumGreek Olive Oil Company Name: Leonie Mirmikidis Website: Sep20641