‘Olive oil with the ship’ 75 years old
The story of İzmir-based Kristal olive oil company is an interesting one. One of the leading firms in the olive oil sector alongside Komili and Tariş, Kristal’s story lies within its logo.
The ship on the logo symbolizes the migration of brand founder Anthony Micaleff’s family from Malta to İzmir in the 1860s.
Anthony Micaleff’s son, Noel Micaleff, is head of the executive committee of Kristal. His nephew Christopher Dologh is the general manager.
Kristal is among the sponsors of the traditional “Olive Harvest Days” in the Aegean town of Ayvalık. Kristal deputy sales manager Turgay Koşucu discussed the 75-year-old company at this event.
A few years after Anthony Micaleff started olive oil production, he brought in tin can-producing machines from France, becoming the first producer to sell olive oil in tin cans.
Another first Kristal achieved in the olive oil sector was introducing the product to Central and East Anatolia since the beginning of the 1950s, regions separate from İzmir and Istanbul, where olive oil is consumed the most.
“There was not much of an olive oil culture in Anatolia. We put a lot of effort for olive oil to be used as cooking oil. Our efforts did bear fruit. In those days, Kristal was known as the ‘olive oil with the ship’ in Anatolia. Because roads were inadequate, deliveries would be made either by ships or by train,” Koşucu said.
Trust in the brand was so established that small markets that could not afford weights for measuring goods used Kristal tin cans instead. This was because the weight written on the can was so precisely correct.
Years later, Kristal still prioritizes its sales channels in Anatolia.
The Kristal stand at the “Olive Harvest Days” in Ayvalık offered baklava (a Turkish sweet) to customers – baklava baked with olive oil.
Koşucu said, “We want to demonstrate that we can use olive oil everywhere. We have a chef in Adiyaman who bakes baklava with olive oil for us.”
Baklava made with olive oil is delicious and, more importantly, healthier than ones baked with solid oil.
It is not only Kristal but the whole olive oil sector’s hope that the two kilograms of olive oil consumption per capita in Turkey will rise. Compared to Greece, where olive oil consumption per capita is over 20 kilograms, Turkey falls behind.
In regards to the current situation of the company, which has been exporting in new markets for 45 years, Koşucu said that 15 percent of Kristal’s production is exported to a well-known brand in Germany and Central Asian republics. Demand for Kristal is increasing in Iran and Iraq, while the new targets are in the Far East, especially China, Brazil and the U.S.
One of the most important reasons Kristal has broadened its targets in both the domestic and international markets is due to the sale of 49 percent of its shares to Arkas Group in 2007.
With the strength it obtained from the Arkas partnership, another established İzmir firm, Kristal is expanding its investments.