Importers of Greek food stockpiling products amid economic turmoil

Major Canadian importers of olive oil, sea salt, preserved vegetables and other delicacies from Greece say they’ve been stockpiling goods in their warehouses in anticipation that the economic turmoil overseas will get worse.

TORONTO — Major Canadian importers of olive oil, sea salt, preserved vegetables and other delicacies from Greece say they’ve been stockpiling goods in their warehouses in anticipation that the economic turmoil overseas will get worse.

The Canadian companies say the economic crisis in Greece won’t keep products off store shelves here for a while, but recent events make their preparations seem wise.

A referendum held on Sunday saw Greek citizens reject the idea of adopting more austerity measures in exchange for financial aid from the European Union. The debt-ridden country has shut banks for six working days and imposed strict limits on cash withdrawals.

Greece’s precarious financial situation may force it to abandon the euro and begin issuing its own currency.

Canadian businesses are keeping a close eye on the economic situation, but don’t immediately seem to feel their bottom lines will require much extra scrutiny.

“Business as usual for us,” said Miltiadis Antypas, President of Pilaros International Trading Inc. “The companies we’re dealing with, most of them are multinational. They don’t pay us, we pay them, so the situation is not changing for us.”

The food products that companies such as Pilaros import to Canadian shores represent a significant piece of the Greek-Canadian trading relationship. According to 2014 figures posted on the country’s Greek embassy website, Canada imported nearly $57 million in food products from Greece, more than double the second-largest import of base metal products.

That figure represents a paltry sum for a country whose 2014 imports totalled $524.2 billion, but companies say Greek food products are highly popular with consumers.

In order to meet the demand, Antypas said his company’s warehouses are currently filled with at least a five-month supply of goods such as olives and olive oil, sea salt and other products with a long shelf life.

Alex Alexakis, vice-president of Canadian operations at Krinos Foods, said his firm too has been stockpiling supplies.

“We’re OK for a couple of months at least,” Alexakis said, while stressing that the situation could deteriorate if Greek and EU officials don’t find a resolution to the economic crisis soon.

Besieged by a prolonged recession, high unemployment and banks dangerously low on capital, Greece defaulted on repaying a loan to the International Monetary Fund last week, becoming the first developed nation to do so.

Now some analysts wonder if Greece is so starved of cash that it could be forced to start issuing its own currency and become the first country to leave the 19-member eurozone, established in 1999.

Greece and its creditors, who will meet again Tuesday to discuss how to keep the country in the euro, remain far apart on key issues, particularly the notion of debt relief.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Who is at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19? Firefighters, drivers, pharmacists, cooks

Central Alberta firefighter says virus taking toll on mental health

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Federal share is approaching $750 million annually, up from $618 million in 2012-13

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

N.S. fire crews continue battling ‘out-of-control’ Porters Lake blaze

Word of the fire first emerged early Saturday afternoon

Technology, representation butt heads amid debate over resuming Parliament

The Liberals are now proposing four meetings a week until June 17

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim makes its way through Halifax

The 35-year-old military public affairs officer and Halifax native died in the crash

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada as of May 23

There are 83,621 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada

Procession for Snowbirds crash victim to make its way through Halifax today

The military public affairs officer died in the Snowbirds Tutor jet crash in B.C. last Sunday

Employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

Only eight per cent of employers were fully prepared to restart operations, survey finds

Liberals table proposal for expanded Commons COVID-19 meetings, summer sittings

OTTAWA — The Liberals have tabled a proposal that would see expanded… Continue reading

Most Read