George Eliadis, managing director, Peza Union Crete told FoodProductionDaily.com the obstacle is that most European consumers are only prepared to accept glass bottles.
“It’s a question of mentality," he said. "Europeans are used to the glass and that’s hard to change.”
Tetra Pak cartons
Peza Union Crete has been producing olive oil in cartons for 10 years, but Eliadis said glass bottles are more popular than cartons.
Investment is needed to convert the market to carton packaging, he added.
“Customers say they want to see the product, but you don’t really see it in a glass bottle anyway,” Eliadis said. “Cartons are practical and easy to use. They’re not heavy, they don’t break.”
Pez Union Crete uses Tetra Pak cartons for its olive oil. Tetra Pak claims transparent packaging leaves the oil ‘open to attack’ and has partnered with other olive oil producers as well.
Eliadis said his own comparison between glass and bottles shows a longer life for olive oil in cartons, because light does not reach the product.
“I think it is the best way to package olive oil. It keeps it fresh for longer. If you leave olive oil in light, it takes the goodness from it.”
Longer shelf life
A 2005 study in European Food Research and Technology journal claimed extra virgin olive oil stored in the light had significantly lower tocopherol, carotenoid and chlorophyll content after a 12 month period than oils stored in the dark.
The study said shelf life of the oils exposed to light is shorter than that of oils kept in the dark.
Greece is the top olive oil consumer, per capita, in Europe with each person consuming nearly 18kg a year, according to 2011-12 figures from the European Commission. Spain, Italy, and Cyprus are other high consumers.
Source: European Food Research and Technology
2005, Volume 221 (1), 92-98.
“Influence of the exposure to light on extra virgin olive oil quality during storage”
Francesco Caponio, Maria Teresa Bilancia, Antonella Pasqualone, Ewa Sikorska, Tommaso Gomes.