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From EU accession to accessible Cypriot food.

One of the strongest industries in Cyprus is food & drink production and this will grow stronger when Cyprus joins the European Union in April 2004. Considerable investment has been made in dairies, bakeries and meat processing factories in recent years to maximise trading opportunities both to and from Cyprus. Cypriot companies are able to offer the expertise and flexibility required to handle both large and small orders, produce branded and buyer's own label products and fulfil orders at short notice.

In 2002, total exports of Cyprus food and drink production to the UK were valued at around 30 million [euro]. Ioannis Shekeris, commercial counsellor at the Cyprus High Commission believes that consumers' increasingly sophisticated tastes and acceptance of the Mediterranean diet have contributed to this success. He states: "Millions of British holiday makers enjoy Cypriot tend each year. Many items--such as olives, olive oil, yoghurt, pasta, fresh fruit and vegetables and the like--have been proven to contribute to a healthy and nutritious diet, and they are now accepted as mainstream foods."

UK distribution has been secured in most sectors, including supermarkets, specialist grocers and cash & carry chains, as well as the foodservice industry.

Key exports also include cheese (eg: traditional Halloumi) and other dairy products such as yoghurt, milk desserts and ice cream, as well as a wide variety of 'light' products for the health-conscious consumer. Formerly regarded as 'ethnic' foodstuffs, items such as houmous, tahini, halva, cereals and pulses, nuts and snacks are growing in popularity.

Cyprus boasts a wide range of soils as well as a number of unique microclimates and has gained a reputation on international markets as the Garden of the Mediterranean. Unsurprisingly, therefore, fruit and vegetables--marketed under the Cypria label-contribute considerably to the export success story. Over 50,000 tonnes of Cypriot fruit and vegetables (fresh, dried, canned and processed) were exported to the UK in 2002 including citrus fruit, potatoes and a wide variety of fresh leafy vegetables and herbs. Juices and concentrates accounted for a further 1,000,000 [euro] of UK exports in 2002.

Agribusiness was given a boost by a massive investment in an irrigation project which has allowed the opening up of an additional 100,000 acres of land in the flat and very fertile coastal plains along the southern coastline. Water from the Troodos mountains is used to feed an intricate system of reservoirs and irrigation channels which has already resulted in increased production of vegetables and citrus fruit.

Cyprus growers are supported in their efforts by government advisory services including specialist research centres such as the Agricultural Research Institute which are constantly experimenting with new varieties of produce and growing techniques. A government inspection service works closely with both producers and exporters to ensure that strict international standards are maintained for export. Ioannis Shekeris continues: "The food and drink industry is an integral part of the economy of Cyprus. It is the country's major export industry and also key to its tourism and travel markets. In order to compete in European markets our high standards need to be maintained".

Wines, beers and spirits are also gaining a strong foothold in the UK retail sector. Last year 23 million litres of wine were exported to the United Kingdom. There are four main wineries (ETKO, KEO, LOEL & SODAP) supplying the UK market, although a number of smaller regional boutique wineries have emerged in recent years.

Innovation in the form of new products, new packaging and advance marketing techniques is also taking place. While traditional foods have hardly changed, (perhaps with the exception of halloumi cheese, whose production has been fully mechanised through the invention and construction of customised machinery), companies are addressing the needs of their target consumers. All production, packaging and storage procedures adhere strictly to European hygiene regulations. In recent years, Cyprus has also seen the development of marine aquaculture, specialising in sea bass and sea bream. There are around 10 privately owned commercial sea cage farms in Cyprus with a total annual production of about 2000 tonnes of fish. In 2002, exports of these two types of fish alone reached 418 tonnes, worth 2,000,000 [euro]. On land, ostrich farms have become well established and Europe's largest and most modern ostrich abattoir and processing plant has been developed. Premium quality ostrich meat, fresh or frozen in a wide variety of cuts for the wholesale and retail market, is being exported in increasing quantities to France, Portugal, Belgium, Germany. Switzerland, Greece and the Middle East.

The Cyprus food industry is aware that its continuing success depends on compliance with EU legislation and maintaining high standards. With this in mind, a new food laboratory was developed earlier this year to help the industry improve standards of safety and quality,, and also introduce HACCP principles (hazard analysis critical control point). The state of the art microbiology laboratory offers a complete service in food testing and environmental monitoring, safety and stability assessments.
UK Based companies importing Cypriot foodstuffs include:

Dinos & Sons 020 8808 2427
John & Pascalis Ltd 020 8452 0707
Katsouris Bros Ltd 020 7607 2730
Marathon Food Ltd 020 8884 2749
Acropolis Foods Ltd 01992 626624
Andreas Lois 020 8366 6722
Bevelynn Ltd 01992 641441
Demos & Sons 020 8889 2682
Demetra Products Ltd 020 8808 4804
Dinos Importers 020 8803 1625
Gordon Conrad Ltd 020 7630 5000
Louise Food & Wine 020 8808 5588
S Aspris & Son Ltd 020 7485 0563
St Mickalos & Co Ltd 020 7733 9539

For further information, please contact:

Tel: 020 7629 6288

Fax: 020 7629 5244


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Title Annotation:Promotional Feature From The Cyprus Trade Centre
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 13, 2003
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