The Greek domestic food industry plays a fundamental role in the Greek processing industry and the Greek economy in general. The food industry steadily is one of the most important sectors of the primary sector of the Greek economy, and one of the driving forces behind Greek processing; in fact, developments in it affect, to a significant extent, Greek production as a whole. The present paper examines the course and position of the food industry in the decade 2009-2017. The study of this particular decade presents particular interest, considering that it encompasses the period of economic crisis. Other findings and conclusions that will be drawn reveal the behaviour of the above sector, its potential and any weaknesses or opportunities. The comparative analysis to the respective sector in the European Union shows that there is no significant difference. The vital role of the sector of food processing and its contribution to the European economy is obvious. The food industry is one of the biggest segments of the processing sector in the European Union, steadily emerging as one of the top sectors compared to other important sectors of the European economy, such as the automotive industry, chemicals, industrial machinery and metal products. The data of sub-sector classification suggest that the Greek food sector consists mainly of traditional sectors, which, basically, do not contribute to an increase in production added value or to the much needed - for Greek economy - extroversion. This paper shows that there is room for further improvement in the competitiveness of the food sector. Improving Greek food sector competitiveness will stem from supporting its human resources and their qualifications, knowledge, experience and skills, as well as the nature and degree of their specialisation. Furthermore, more efficient coordination and wider cooperation between sector representatives can contribute towards improved effectiveness and efficiency in the efforts to promote Greek products, as well as towards appropriate choices of strategies and stability in the implementation of long-term strategic planning. Generation of added value and increased extroversion rely, to a great extent, on the promotion of Greek products through appropriate, well-planned channels, quality. differentiation, and support of the standard of Greek / Mediterranean cuisine. The sector is lagging far behind in terms of the above, this being mainly due to the implementation of isolated decisions-moves, which are not part of a wider, long-term plan. Finally, the analysis of the figures examined shows that the Greek food industry - despite its structural weaknesses - is a dynamic, competitive and extrovert sector, with important investments and business activity, in Greece, the Balkans and all around Europe. The food industry has maintained, in all these years, even during the prolonged economic recession in Greece, its key role, having proven that it meets the conditions for remaining a basic engine of development. The key issues as regards the role of the Greek domestic food industry are related to extroversion, the Greek quality of the products, the Greek brand name and an organised promotion of Greek products.
JEL classification numbers: Q13, Q17, L1, F1
Keywords: Agricultural Markets and Marketing, Agricultural Trade, Food Trade, Market Structure, International Trade.
ISSN: 1792-7552 (Online)