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"ThesGala" Milk Vending Machines Promote Farmers & Innovation

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Larissa has recently constructed "ThesGala" milk vending machines, that supports farmers and have cut out the need for a middleman leading to price reductions, as reported by Reuters.

The milk dispensing machines are popular among Greeks, who bring their own bottles to fill or purchase them from the machines. Dairy cooperative general manager Constantine Gougoulias stated, "People were waiting 20 to 30 minutes in line, to buy milk!...We were telling them, 'Hold on, we need to fill the machines first'".

Currently the "ThesGala" initiative has grown to 14 different vending locations in Larissa and is scheduled to double its capacities around the vicinity, within the next year. Revenues from the machines only make up a small amount of the dairy cooperative's milk production, but is a concrete example of innovative entrepreneurship during the nation's financial turmoils.

The "ThesGala" startup produces 130 tons of milk per day and amounts to 10% of the nation's milk production.  Athenian City Unity College social entrepreneurship lecturer Fiori Zafeiropoulou described, "We have seen an increase in social solidarity and cooperation in Greece - we didn't have this before...This is the positive element of the financial crisis".

The IMF and the EU have both discussed the need for the Greek milk industry to be revamped. However, milk costs have increased over 12% in the last four years. Financial analysts have attributed this to price increases by sellers, along with expensive distribution and transportation costs due to Greece's mountain and island terrain.  These factors have not fared well for farmers.