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Feta Cheese ma ga z i n e

FETA PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS One of the most popular food choices worldwide, it rules the list of Greek cheese exports.

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The “international” cheese 1

F

eta is indeed one of the most famous Greek cheeses. In fact, Feta occupies a 70 percent stake in Greek cheese consumption. The cheese is a PDO product and, as such, protected by EU legislations –only those cheeses manufactured in Macedonia, Thrace, Thessaly, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, and Lesvos can be called “Feta.” It is unclear exactly when Feta began to be produced in Greece, but it is has been produced in much the same way for thousands of years. Greek producers have strict regulations regarding Feta, including the stipulation that at least 70% of the product be made of sheep’s milk. The remainder can be made of goat’s milk, due to the difficulty in obtaining large quantities of sheep’s milk. Local flora, animal breeds, and traditional production methods all have a significant impact on the texture, flavor and aroma of Feta. As a result, the firmness, texture and flavor differ from region to region, but in general, cheese from Macedonia and Thrace is mild, softer and creamier, less salty with fewer holes. Feta made in Thessaly and Central Greece has a more intense, robust flavor, while Feta from the Peloponnese is dryer in texture and full flavored.

Export opportunities for Greek cheese, and especially Feta cheese have encouraged a greater production, and have spurred the local dairy and cheese industry to evolve even further. As a result, several large Greek dairy companies have already managed to sell their Feta to super-markets all around the world, whereas some of these companies have built production units abroad. In the last few years, Greek Feta processing companies have been investing in innovation, cutting-edge technologies, marketing, and new product development, thus improving value for money, and resulting in a more competitive marketplace. In Greece, there are many large companies shelling out in the production of Feta cheese, and especially the one matured in tins. Feta cheese in tins is made by mechanized process and can be packed to an exact size and weight, making the marketing of the product easier. On the other hand, about 10 companies produce Feta in barrels, and according to a traditional recipe, while approximately 5 of them can accommodate increased demand. Large and medium-sized Greek Feta companies have modern infrastructure, a fully organized distribution network, and offer a wide variety of products that cater to the needs of super markets or delis all over the world. Smaller, however, production units, from family-owned dairy farms to small-sized businesses, are struggling to keep up with increased demand –especially considering the adverse economic climate– and are usually operating within their specific geographical area or market their Feta as a gourmet choice.

1 Not many things have changed in the process of making Feta since antiquity.

2 Greek Feta companies have been investing in the latest technologies.

Local flora, animal breeds and production methods have a significant impact on Feta

Ambrosia #7  
Ambrosia #7