The exerting pressure on Greek table olive exporters considering the current trade conditions (rising competitiveness among exporting countries among others) has lead to the urgent need for testing not only the quality and safety features of the final product but also its organoleptic characteristics.
The National Taste Panel was first established in 2014 as an initiative of the Panhellenic Association of Table Olive Processors, Packers and ExportersPEMETE. Since then, the National Taste Panel operates successfully under the aid and supervision of specialised experts, namely Professor Efstathios Panagou (Department of Food Science and Technology, Agricultural University of Athens) and the National Panel leader Mr. Konstantinos Tertivanidis.
A group of tastemakers was first established according to the International Olive Council COI/ OT/MO Method (No 1/Rev.2-2011“Sensory analysis of table olives”). The action was conducted under the supervision of specialised experts, based on their deep knowledge and understanding of the multiple factors affecting the quality of table olives and thus their qualitative ranking. In that manner, fully-equipped test rooms for table olive tastings were set-up at facilities provided by the Hellenic Agricultural Organisation (EL.GO.-Dimitra) in Athens and at Krinos Olive Centre, provided by the American Farm School in Thessaloniki.
The test rooms’ staff consists of specialised experts and well-trained personnel with scientific or other background contributing effectively towards the successful functioning of the test rooms. The facilities are available (short or long term) to any stakeholder involved in the table olives sector including farmers, processors, as well as traders, exporters and consumers.
Greek olive taste panel is related to one of the most important, export-oriented agricultural product. Moreover, the development of appropriate methods based on specialised experts and welltrained tastemakers constitutes contribution of great importance for the table olive sector and all involved stakeholders (i.e. farmers, processors, traders exporters, consumers).
The development of Sensory analysis concerning table olives was a national objective of great importance, that was supported and funded by a private association indeed during hard financial times for Greece.
The importance of Greek olive taste panel establishment is clearly understood considering the development of similar strategies from international competitors in collaboration with the corresponding panel leaders of other countries.