Giorgos Anagnostou and Amalia Kalogiannis decided in 2007 to take advantage of the “gifts” offered by their island, Alonissos, and create their own tuna processing and standardization workshop. Amalia Kalogiannis spoke to HuffPost Greece about the beauties of Alonissos, the process of fishing and processing tuna and the difficulties they faced in their business adventure.
George Anagnostou and Amalia Kalogianni
How did you start producing Alonissos tuna?
We were born and raised in Alonissos. Alonissos is a beautiful island with rich natural beauty and a tradition of fishing since it has long been the best means of survival for the islanders.
We loved the sea, its wealth and learned to respect it. The idea to start processing tuna came after our long-term occupation, my husband’s and mine, with the wholesale trade of Alonissos fish. We thought, instead of trying to find ways to make the quantities of fish available in other markets, why not standardize the tuna and put other bases in its preparation until now by the housewives of Alonissos, which was the only way for it to be tasted by its lovers our island. In this way we have expanded into the wider market and consumers have the opportunity to enjoy at their own table a wide variety of tuna products, of high quality and nutritional value.
You started your venture in 2007, at the beginning of the crisis. What difficulties did you face?
We started our venture in 2007 at the beginning of the crisis and naturally we faced several difficulties. The upward development of our company took place at a slow pace, step by step, due to the financial problems brought about by the crisis in the housewife’s basket. Of course, we also had a small amount of funding from the region of Thessaly and thus we were able to cope with the first difficulties. The main reason we stayed and went up in the market is the differentiation of ALELMA tone.
What process do you follow to find the tuna from the sea in its jar?
The production process begins with the strict selection of fish. We select our raw material from specific fishing sites and check the quality of each fish. The standardization process is done at all stages by hand. Meticulous cleaning of the fish from the skin inside to the smallest bones. Cut into fillets and placed in the jar, add water or oil and create different flavor combinations. The process ends with the sterilization of the final product, so that we have a reliable product for the consumer. Our tuna is the best food for humans from small children to the elderly and even pregnant women due to the absence of mercury.
Do you also export abroad?
Our effort to expand into foreign markets is constantly bearing fruit, so until now we have managed to establish a presence in some European countries such as London, Belgium, Romania, Germany and we hope for the development of other countries, even outside Europe.
Do you think that in Greece we take advantage of the wealth that the country offers us in order to highlight it abroad?
Fortunately, in Greece, in recent years, many producers have successfully attempted to highlight our wealth abroad. However, it is necessary for the respective state agency to take more care to better inform and facilitate the process in this effort.