EBRD, EU and Greece help Greek small business Geodi grow
Prepared with freshly cut fruit, vegetables and herbs of certified organic farming from the countryside of Greece, Geodi jam is one of the most delicious sweet treats. By helping the company introduce SAP process control, the EBRD has ensured that many more people can sample – and enjoy - their products.
Geodi S.A. was established in 2007 and is based in Athens. It offers a wide range of products, such as jams, chutneys, sauces and spreads. It stands out among its competitors thanks to the more original flavours it offers, such as its unique low fat “choco jam” – yes, that’s correct! – which is a combination of dark chocolate spread and fruit.
They sell their products to countries all over the world, with the USA, Germany, Russia and Australia being their largest markets: "We had to start exporting from the onset of our establishment because of the crisis in Greece. We made our first exports at the end of 2010 so that we could survive the decline in consumption in the country," says Eleni Paraskevopoulou, Marketing and Business Transformation Officer
By combining the art of traditional home-made techniques and the use of advanced modern equipment, they preserve the freshness and nutrition of fresh fruit in the final product.
So, what sets them apart? Most of their jam is made with organic ingredients. They also use as little sugar as possible, trying to keep the concentration of fruit at 85 per cent. This is an impressive result, given that jam recipes mostly comprise equal weights of fruit and sugar.
Along with the classic flavours – strawberry, peach, orange and cherry among others – you will also find chestnut, fig, bergamot, walnut and kiwi. The choice of fruits for making a good jam is endless.
“We first started with jams. We thought that was a safe way to start such a business. Then we went into the health food sector, where we were pioneers. In 2012, we started developing jams with stevia. Back then, stevia was not widespread in Europe; it became legal in December 2013. In 2014 we were one of the first companies to market quality products,” says Eleni. Stevia is a sweetener and sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the plant Stevia.
Geodi’s sauces and spreads are also exceptional. In addition to classic Italian-style pesto and tomato sauces, one can find traditional Greek spreads with an Eastern Mediterranean twist, including tahini (made from toasted ground hulled sesame – the major ingredient in hummus), aubergine, olive and oregano products.
“We were the first company to launch chutneys in Greece. Since then, more companies have started producing them,” says Eleni.
Looking for ways to improve the quality of their products, develop new and innovative ones, and stay ahead of competition, the Geodi team is also working very closely with academics, research centres and the food technology department of the National Technical University of Athens.
As with all companies in the food industry, Geodi is subject to many audits every year for quality assurance, regulatory compliance and product development. Only last year, they had to undergo ten audits, including one from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is why they decided to ask for the EBRD’s support.
The EBRD, under its advisory programme, which is funded by the European Union through the European Investment Advisory Hub of the EIB and the government of Greece, put Geodi in touch with a consultant who helped the company start using the SAP software.
SAP stands for Systems Applications and Products in data processing and covers virtually every aspect of business management. That helps companies to be more organised and control their products in a more efficient way. SAP offers Geodi a great opportunity to reap the benefits of modern technologies, enabling better planning and insights and working towards standardisation of production, commercial and financial processes.
"We went through several tests and checks requested by our customers last year and it was very important that we used SAP. If we hadn’t, we wouldn't be able to work with these customers," says Eleni.
Geodi is already trusted by large Greek and international clients and its vision is to become a world-famous brand and a reliable manufacturer of high quality and healthy products. With SAP and other improvements to their equipment, they managed to achieve around 10 per cent growth in 2019.
The EBRD has supported over 60 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece so far. The advisory programme is designed to help businesses gain know-how and improve their performance and competitiveness.