The last two years Chios Mastic Growers Association increases its sales network. Recently the Association reached an agreement with the American multinational company related to nutritional supplements called «GNC Holdings» and is very close to cooperate with the «Solgar», an American «giant», and these are not the only business success. Over the last two years, according to Mr. Elias Smyrnioudis, the Director of Production Research and Development Units of Chios Mastic Growers Association, such agreements have been concluded around the world from Japan to America, and of course EU is included.
Mr. Smyrnioudis also mentioned to AgroTypos that the Chios Mastic Growers Association aims to turn the product from an expensive spice into “a parapharmaceutical product with high added value that will have also positive impact on producer prices.”
A short time ago the European Medicine Agency (EMA) recognised the Chios mastic as a natural medicine in the European Union and this is expected to play a key role for Chios Mastic’s exports given that the 2/3 of the Association’s production (ie about 110 from the 160 tonnes) are exported to international markets. The US is one of the major exporting countries, alongside with the European market and South Korea. It is indeed significant that the most important EU products are those of Protected Designation of Origin.
Mr. Smyrnioudis, tell us about the agreements made known by the media concerning large US dietary supplements companies?
It is not only these two companies that made public these days. The last two years agreements have been concluded and mastic is used by several companies around the world for parapharmaceutical and pharmaceuticals products. From Japan and Korea to America and of course in Europe. We cooperate with main companies in America specializing in pharmaceutical products that use mastic in various products such as «GNC», «Jarrow Formulas», while we are also in debates with the well known American company «Solgar».
What role does the recent recognition of Mastic, as a natural medicine from the EMA, play for the Mastic’s entrance in the medicine market?
The recognition of Chios Mastic, as a natural medicine in the EU from EMA, held recently. However there is a growing interest of foreign and Greek companies mainly of European countries due to the fact that the recognition by the EMA relating to European countries and those following the European Pharmacopoeia such as Brazil and Canada. This development certainly helps to receive similar certification from other countries.
Now that your sales network is growing, is there sufficient Chios Mastic production to cover exports?
There is. The logic of the Association is to change the use of mastic that is an expensive spice and turn it into a parapharmaceutical product with high added value that will have an impact on the producer price. At meantime we cover our needs, without having an excess product. However, due to the crisis, there are many who return to Chios in order to become producers. From the given data the production will be increased annually by 5% (at least).