Winning at snail’s pace: Fereikos Helix, Greece.

80 kms. west of Athens, two sisters Maria and Panagiota Vlachou started their venture at a snail’s pace. Literally, since the idea was to develop an open snail farm where snails complete their full biological cycle.

Courtesy Export Academy

That was 2007, today Fereikos is driving the development of organic snail farming globally. The sisters’ innovative ideas and commitment to quality has not only won them business but also awards like the “Young  Entrepreneur of the Year, 2011”. In the recession-hit economy, Fereikos is acknowledged to be one of the few bright spots.

So why snails? It opened up a new avenue for the Greek agricultural sector and inspired hundreds of entrepreneurs to take up snail farming. Production through Fereikos network of snail farmers increased 650% in five years! After all it’s food for the masses as well as for gourmet diners who like their “escargot entree”.

Courtesy Fereikos-Helix

The going wasn’t easy due to the credit crunch, so Maria and Panagiota started with a small loan from a local bank. They helped young farmers set up and run snail farms, with assured buyback at a pre-determined price. Their technique of following the natural biological cycle of snails, changed the farm production pattern from seasonal to all-year-round.

Courtesy Fereikos-Helix

Though Fereikos has a lean set-up, the sisters refuse to offer anything but the best. Other than providing training and technical support to contract farmers, they also conduct regular quality audits through qualified agronomists. They ensure that the produce is of high quality- fresh, organic and without any additive or preservative.

Maria and Panagiota continue to innovate and grow, overcoming all odds with their entrepreneurial skills and dedication. Two years back they expanded their venture with Fereikos Gefsis which offers clean and pre-cooked products, as well as ready-to-cook meals. Maybe the United Nations report released in May 2013 should change its recommendation for feeding the hungry billions, from “let them eat bugs” to “let them eat snails”!


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