Green Week in Berlin
By Virginia Heyden
The IGW is a one-of-a-kind international exhibition for the food, agricultural, and horticultural industries. Established in 1926 it took place for the 71st time in 2006 in Berlin. Producers from all over the world use the IGW to test-market food and luxury items and establish a brand image. Exhibitors often organize around national, regional, or product themes. Presentations feature fresh produce, fish, meats, and dairy products. These combine with a vast selection of international wine, beer, and spirits specialties, to satisfy every culinary palate. Right in line with consumer trends, the IGW also includes direct agricultural sales and the BIO MARKT organic products section.
Greek Products in Green Week
What does an exhibition in Berlin have to do with a Crete publication? What makes it interesting for the readers of the Crete Gazette? The answer is that in this international exhibition with 1496 exhibitors from all over the world, exhibiting their products in 26 halls, only 2 exhibitors presented Greek products and only one of them came from Greece itself!
This year I had the possibility to go as “VIP” through all stands and halls. At first I didn’t see any co-operative unions from Greece, any big Greek company, any official Greek representation of the many tasty Greek products. When I am in Crete I always listen to discussions about how much the farmers of Crete will benefit if their excellent olive oil manages to get into the international markets. We all agree that this is correct, but how will this happen when the Greek companies ignore events like the International Green Week in Berlin? It looks like my Greek friends are dreaming but are not ready to take action to achieve their goals.
Beginning my tour in the exhibition I stood in front of an amazing flower arrangement from Netherlands; it was such a warm welcome! Further on, the trade manager explained the goods and I could try; sherry from Spain, smoked salmon from Scandinavia, wine from France, Cheese from Bavaria. Irish beer and music. Australian, Canada and Norway, even little Latvia were represented. A bar with fine food and small tables and lovely people in their costumes. I asked for a salad with a piece of really dark, spicy bread and paid 2€. I walked on without a plan….enjoying what I saw. Dancing near the Russian-stand from the Slovenian…
Somewhere was a special smell, and I followed.Finally the Greek flag, and tzatziki and more…a busy food stand with some tables…Theodorakis GMBH from Hanover. Not a Greek company as I had hoped.
At last, on a corner a stand, from Agios Ioannis, Ierapetra. The man behind the stand talked to me in English. Little olives, little bottles, little information. I think he made also very little money. The stands cost between 132€ and 145€. Sad! Crete olive oil is the best! I cannot understand why the opportunity to promote Greek produce has been lost. After a try at Greek conversation, the man gave me a map of Ierapetra. Ok, soon I will visit his farm in Agios Ioannis and Crete again!