1.Describe us more about your -lets call it- ''mission'' abroad.
Greek Fine Food GmbH was created in order to promote Greek gourmet products in Switzerland.
Our mission is to introduce the treasures that Greece produces to as many people as possible. We have carefully selected our products as Switzerland is an extremely demanding market. Only the best products survive the tough competition. Swiss people are looking for quality, consistency and fair pricing. Greece has to offer a lot. And it is our job to bring them out of the country.
2.What are the greek products you sell more ?What do your clients seem to like most?
From the variety of products we offer the best sellers are
ELAION’s Finest Bio which received ‘Best of Greece’ Award in the 14th International Olive Oil Award 2014 in Wädenswil, Zürich.
My beloved Vasilissa Honey with their gorgeous presentation (Vityna, Thyme and Heather honey).
Anatolikos Vineyards and their fantastic MV red wine ( Mavroudi,Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon)
Messolongi Fields and their Garden of Heroes BIO Olive oil
The unique tomato sauce with orange from Nikos Papayiannides.Swiss people need to hear the story of the product their buying. Just stating that a company is producing a good product is not sufficient. That is the reason we are looking for handmade traditional products done with passion and love.
3.Are you satisfied with your everyday life conditions there?
Switzerland is a confederation comprised of three parts: The German, The French and the Italian. Each of them has a different character language and vibe. I live in the German part, an absolute organized environment where things work like a clock, a Swiss clock. I am a perfectionist as a person and I fit very well to this environment. The one thing that you have to accept is the weather since due to the Alps and the country’s geographic location there are sudden changes from day to day. There is a lot of rain, grey clouds for weeks and long cold winters. Last but very important you have to get used to the north characteristics of people being more distant and reserved.
4.Which is the biggest difference between two countries?
The biggest difference is the contribution of the people to the governance of the country. There is regularly voting where all Swiss citizens are called to say their opinion regarding the country’s rules and decisions (from budget of army equipment to everyday issues). I was astonished by the fact that a simple citizen can bring an issue to public voting by raising an Initiative (you need 100.000 signatures within 18 months and the final ok, according to some norms –not offending religions, human rights etc by the Federal Chancellery). Unfortunately in Greece where Democracy was born the citizens are at the mercy of the Government as they have no say to the outcome of decisions.
5.What were the difficulties in importing all those products? Do you cooperate well with all those producers?
The key to a successful import is to have a good team that works well together. Switzerland is a non-EU country and you need to go through Greek and Swiss Customs. So all team members have to do their part on specified timeline (delivery of products, required documents etc.) The paradox in our case is that the Greek Customs office requires a lot more documents for the export of goods while the Swiss Customs office requires only a few.
Our producers is our family, the Greek Fine Food family. We rely on them to provide us with high quality products and in return, being exclusive distributors of these products in Switzerland and Lichtenstein, we do our best to place them in the Swiss market.
6.The people you work with, do they have a negative or an optimistic point of view about GREECE?
Swiss people know Greece well from holiday. It is a popular destination point. Whenever I introduce myself as being Greek they all know ‘Kalimera’ and ‘Kalispera’ and have a holiday story to tell you about the blue sea and the warm people. There has been a lot of bad publicity about the politicians so there is a general opinion that the system is corrupted and that does not help the country’s image.
7.What we should do -by your opinion -as a country to sell more of our food treasures abroad?
Greece has excellent products and they deserve to be in all food stores worldwide. What we have been lacking for many years is the proper marketing. Why are the Italian products easier to sell? They have better marketing that all other countries for many many years. It is not enough to have an excellent product. You also need an excellent marketing strategy (clear definition of the target group and how to reach them). Labeling is another issue. In Switzerland for example you need to have one of the 3 official languages (German, French or Italian). Producers that are not flexible to adapt to foreign country regulations do not have many chances to increase sales.
8.Finally...what is GREECE to you?
Greece is the sun, the sea, the warm people and the food. Greece is home…