Made buffalo products famous in the country
For five generations, the Mpeka family is one with respect and love for animals and the first to produce under the label “buffalo” a complete range of buffalo milk products and introduced it almost all over Greece from a wide distribution network.
Today, the Mpeka Farm is a model enterprise located in privately-owned facilities in the Sindos area of Thessaloniki and produces 100% buffalo milk, which is collected from seven collaborating farms reared in the Lake of Kerkini, a total of 17 product codes with elegant packaging with the brand “Vuvalino”.
Its innovative products aim to serve the ever-increasing market needs of high-value foods, manufactured to the strictest specifications. From milk and cocoa to kazan dibi, the list of products is constantly growing, embracing all tastes.
Giannis Mpekas, having studied at the American Farm School with a scholarship and was specialized in animal production, created a cow farm where, for 12 years, he produced cow’s milk products at a standard facility in Sindos, Thessaloniki. The choice of processing of buffalos’ was a result of his own research, which after long years of experience on the market as a farmer and also as a producer, he then appreciated the benefits of such a choice and took the risk of investing despite the negative predisposition of the Greek consumers for the unknown.
“It is a milk rich in vitamins, it has more calcium and phosphorus, and it has a higher protein content and omega-fat, which is one in three when in other milk the ratio is one in fifteen. It is like talking about olive oil quality,” says Mr. Bekas, adding that “if we exclude the donkey milk, which is classified as a medicine, buffalo milk is by far the best and most nutritious product available on the market and, for milk-intolerant people, although it does have lactose.”
The business dates back to 2007 in its current form. There was, however, a conquered tradition in the family of three generations with the cattle breeding in general, but also the buffaloes in particular. Giannis Mpekas, the youngest son of the family, was the only one actively engaged in livestock farming and dairy production.
John is next to his wife, Lina, on a daily basis, while the next generation is slowly coming into the picture. Their son, Dimitris, is only 19 years old and has graduated from the American Farm School, as well as their daughter, Athena, 18 years old. Both want to continue the family tradition and broaden their business ranges, so they want to specialize in the food industry, continuing their studies in Business Administration, Dimitris, and in Food Technology, Athena. They are already fussing with the subject of the business, as in their free time they have an active role in the production and, close to their parents, they cultivate the love for tradition and quality in each recipe.
“We want buffalo milk and its derivatives to enter every home, so as every family can provide the best-proven milk to their children and can enjoy as much as possible the delicious result of our effort for every product. The people respond positively and that is what empowers us with the strength and patience for the difficult struggle of producing these specialized products at the heart of the socio-economic crisis that our country is experiencing”.
Farm Mpeka simultaneously began with the outbreak of the financial crisis on the Greek market, which hampers our efforts. “But the obstacles are to be overcome and to make us stronger and more effective professionals. Fortunately, so far, our course is upwards and efforts to export products beyond borders have a positive sign.
However, we do not reject anyone and we continue to market the products despite the serious lack of professionalism and consistency. So, in turn, we also support remarkable entrepreneurs who survive labor and suffering in adverse conditions, in the hope and conviction that the crisis we are experiencing will clear the landscape from the dangerous people in the food industry. Over time, we have found that serious people survive and emerge stronger from such situations. We hope we belong to this category as well. “
The products are mainly sold in organic and delicatessen stores all over Greece. The company’s network starts from Alexandroupolis and reaches Rhodes and Crete. In Thessaloniki, there are several stores with its products, as the distribution is more direct and flexible because of its location next to the city.
The company’s immediate plans are to move on to a range of new and innovative products such as white cheese and butter enriched with mushroom truffle, cheese with truffle, strained yogurt with fruit, light traditional yogurt, kefir and a semi-hard yellow cheese.
The company’s product range is expanding with a focus on foreign markets, where it is currently under-represented in some developed countries in Western and Central Europe. “There are thoughts to intensify our efforts on the export front. We have made some steps towards it and we are waiting to conclude some pacts to enter a new market,” says Mr. Mpekas and stresses that the agreement may be announced in the spring.