Traditional Greek foods represent an important part of our cultural and culinary heritage. Current research supports a number of traditional products belonging to the Mediterranean Diet profile.
Albeit the correlation of a number of traditional food products to the healthy diet, little attention has been given to the added value for producers and for the local and regional development.
About 80 products have been certified in Greece as PDO or PGI but most of them are traded in bulk without added value for the producer. A great variety of traditional products and recipes have no certificate yet by Reg No 2082/92.
In addition, a shift was observed during the past 30 years from the traditional Mediterranean diet to the so-called western diet. It should also be noted that tourism development was accompanied by a shift to the taste of tourists and visitors. Butter replaced olive oil, industrial imported cheese replaced the great variety of traditional Greek cheeses, traditional plant varieties were replaced by imported hybrides with neutral taste, etc. More importantly, local development had little or no added value from tourism, since most earnings were re-exported in order to import less healthy food. Sustainable Regional Development can only be achieved if the local population participates in the procedures and the process of development. Traditional food products of the Mediterranean diet give added value to regional development, enhance the specific characteristics of the region's profile and make local people proud of their cultural and culinary heritage.
Food and Agribusiness consultant, Greece