June 6, 2018
Former Boston finance careerist promises scalable authenticity and brings fresh air to the Greek specialty foods category, officially launching this June at the Summer Fancy Food Show.
New York, Summer Fancy Food Show -- While designing investment strategies for her high-net-worth clients, Katerina Barka was dreaming of harvesting her olive trees in Kalamata, Greece, and bringing her favorite Greek artisan foods to America. Fast forward two years after quitting her career in Boston, Barka is returning to NYC this summer for the official debut of her company, Olive Roots, at the Fancy Food Show in the U.S.
Based in a small seaside town in Cyprus, this sourcing start-up is reinventing the image of Greek specialty foods in the United States and is promising to help Americans access artisan Greek products and learn how to #EatLikeAGreek by following the Mediterranean Diet.
Barka and her team have developed a portfolio of artisan producers from every corner of Greece. Their foods are pure, delicious, healthy and sustainable and some of them have not been seen in the U.S. before. “I want to help Americans revive the memory of those delicious meals they enjoyed when they once visited Greece. I am constantly asked where they can find good honey or olive oil and the answer is never easy. Typically, you can find authentic Greek products in ethnic markets or in very specialized gourmet stores. In big stores, such as Whole Foods, Greece is still well underrepresented.”
Olive Roots’ goal is to “scale authenticity” and bring these hard-to-find artisan products to the U.S. market in a sustainable manner. In order for that to happen, Barka and her team do a lot of ground work to prepare their farmers and producers to enter the highly-sophisticated American specialty foods market. “We spend a lot of time working with each of our producers. We listen to them, try to understand their problems and then sit down and design solutions,” Barka adds. “Each product has something unique. We love to say that we work with the “champions” of each category,” says Barka who has also put a lot of emphasis on serving different eating styles such as vegans. “Although not by design, our product catalog is a vegan’s food heaven. The truth is that the Greek Diet has a lot of vegan options given its emphasis on plant-based foods.”
The Mediterranean start-up, which aspires to bring Greek authenticity to every American household is bringing quite a few exciting products to the Summer Fancy Food Show. “We are so happy that the time has come for us to share with U.S. buyers the products we discovered in Greek villages and islands,” said Barka.
In addition to a number of new brands, Olive Roots will present a line of house brand “teaser” products, which will be officially launching this Fall. “Our products share the core characteristics of an Olive Roots portfolio item: honest producers, pure products, inspiring stories, authentic tastes and healthy eating. All Real Greek,” said Barka, who is looking forward to having U.S. Buyers taste products like carob syrup, Mediterranean patès, organic herbs, breaded sardines, gourmet sea salts, traditional halloumi cheese, Greek mushroom powders, high-phenolic olive oil and the world’s oldest wine.