We came across Neolea Extra Virgin Olive Oil during our summer in Corfu. We immediately fell in love with the bottle, which is designed by Greek designer Dimitris Koliadimas, while its taste is delicious and its aroma elegant and light. We were excited to find out that Neolea is produced in Corfu, being the project of a young Dutch who was inspired by the island (and its 5 million olive trees). We took a minute to chat with Bart Jan Manten, entrepreneur and founder of Neolea Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), about reinventing a traditional product.
What do you feel you are doing in a different way?
Most olive oil available in northern european countries, although classified as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, well let’s just say there is little virgin about it. In many cases the oil has additives, or fresh oil is blended with last years oil or the oil is even refined and treated to reach acidity levels low enough for the product to be qualified as extra virgin. Result, no taste and no health benefits.
In a world where olive oil is a liquid fat in a small green bottle with a grandma on the bottle making sauce and a name of some unpronounceable village somewhere, I saw an opportunity and by now almost an obligation, there to introduce more people around the world to what I have come to know as real extra virgin olive oil.
Already we are selling our product in some extraordinary locations such as VIP Fashion, a clothing store in the Netherlands but also in some gift shops. I am very excited to explore the possibilities of introducing Neolea to the customer in different ways than they might expect. Neolea is now sold in over 50 locations in Europe.
What about the design of your bottle?
We are very proud of it! Our bottle doesn’t only stand out from the crowd but also honours the quality of its content, as well as protects it in the best way possible by not allowing uv light to affect the olive oil.
What makes you happy about your job?
What makes me so excited about our job at Neolea is that we are making people happy. As an entrepreneur, for me it’s very important to feel good about what I do and I can only do that if I know that I am creating real value. Customers are finding out what real extra virgin olive oil is all about while being introduced to a new kind of Greece as well. Neolea means youth in Greek which perfectly describes the freshness of our product, the health benefits that come with real EVOO and perhaps also stands for a new way of working and a modern face of Greek business.