Central Market of Thessaloniki working on food wastage program

The Central Market of Thessaloniki (CMT) is working on the launch of a project with Bulgarian organizations, which is meant to reduce the waste of fruits and vegetables. The goal of the project is to collect fresh produce that is unfit for commerce but is still perfectly fine for consumption. These volumes of produce are then redistributed to initiatives for the support of people in need, such as food banks. The project still has to be approved by the European Commission.

“Through a committee that was set up on behalf of the European department, we formulated some ideas in order to tackle food wastage in order to present them at the congress in Barcelona next year,” says Theodoros Papadapoulos of CMT. The committee was established at the congress in Rome of last April and consists of both Greek and Bulgarian companies.

According to Papadapoulos, the program is going to kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, it will significantly diminish the amount of food wastage and on the other it will provide food for those who are in dire need of it, such as refugees from Syria. “After the program has been accepted by the EU, we’re going to receive financial support. This support will be used to establish a non-profit organization that’s set to last for at least ten years.”

While the most obvious source for commercially unsuitable produce would be CMT itself and its suppliers, Papadapoulos would also like to save fruits and vegetables from wastage at retailers and supermarket chains. As the program is currently pending clearance, Papadapoulos estimates that the program will begin from next year onward.

Increasing demand from the Balkan region
The Central Market of Thessaloniki is seeing an increasing demand from neighbouring countries in the Balkan Region, such as Bulgaria and Romania. CMT has the advantage of its central location in Thessaloniki. The surge in customers from the Balkans has even led to Bulgarian and Romanian customers providing the means for logistics themselves by sending their own trucks to CMT. “We’ve also attended fairs and trade shows in Bulgaria, where we managed to meet new customers with an interest in our produce. Of course, the embargo in Russia helped a lot in finding more business in this region,” says Papadapoulos.

Food Park
Papadapoulos mentions how the Greek agriculture sector has recovered from a very bad winter. “In this summer, we’re seeing good volumes with great quality at reasonable prices. During this time of the year, the Greek market reaches its peak. This is due to the spring yield from the northern regions in Greece, by which an abundance of melons, watermelons, apricots, peaches, nectarines and cherries is being put on the market. The quality of this year’s apricots and peaches is especially good.”

Vice President Theodoros Papadopoulos with Katerina and Sofia

The main challenge in maintaining good prices is to support Greek producers. We need support from both the market and the government to allow Greek growers access to the world market, with bigger deals and larger clients,” says Papadapoulos.

In order to stimulate the Greek produce sector, the Central Market of Thessaloniki is converting a part of its store area into a “Food Park”. At the Food park, Greek products like olives, olive oil, wine, cheese and yoghurt are being presented for sale by wholesalers. CMT is currently working on providing the necessary infrastructure for these products, as well as establishing sufficient quality controls. “We’re currently upgrading our facilities with new technologies with an emphasis on quality assurance. This way, we can keep up with the standards of the European market.” 

For more information:

Theodoros Papadapoulos
Central Market of Thessaloniki
Phone: 0032310 764023
Fax: 00302310 760076
Email: info@kath.gr

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