Athens residents are now able to get milk on a 24-hours basis, seven days a week, thanks to a pioneering initiative, THESgala (Want Milk?), which started in Larissa, central Greece, a few years ago and later expanded to Thessaloniki, with 16 and 17 milk dispensing points in each city respectively.
“We don’t have any hard numbers, but we estimate that we cover around 50-60 percent of the Larissa market,” said the chairman of the cooperative, Thanasis Vakalis, at a recent press conference. The cooperative was founded in 2011 and now comprises 50 farms in the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia.
“When we saw queues of 70 or 80 people waiting patiently to refill their milk bottles, we knew we were on the right track,” added Vakalis.
The THESgala farms produce 120 tons of milk a day, representing 10 percent of domestic production.
“Our customers need to know that they are consuming a high-quality product and that through their purchase, they are supporting the Greek economy directly, supporting our cooperative efforts and encouraging other producers to create synergies,” said Vakalis.
The process is simplicity itself: Head to your nearest sales point any day at any time and get your milk from an automatic dispenser that informs you of the dates of production, pasteurization and expiry (within five days of production). The price for the farm-fresh milk is 1 euro per liter using a prepaid card or 1.10 euro/liter in cash. The vending machines also dispense milk by the half-liter, chocolate milk (500 ml from 1.10 euros), soft white cow’s milk cheese (200 gr package for 1.80 euros and 400 gr for 2.80), as well as semi-hard cheese (400 gr for 3.50 euros and 200 gr of sandwich slices for 2 euros).
The cooperative’s expansion into the Greek capital consists of 10 new sales points in key neighborhoods: Halandri (48 Pentelis & Diogenous), Ambelokipi (29 Panormou & Alfeiou), Galatsi (128 Tralleon & Papaflessa), Pangrati (58 Filolaou & Olympiados), Neos Cosmos (50 Angylis & Evdoxou), Piraeus (34 Skouloudi & Serfiotou), Nikaia (6 Karaiskaki & Peristaseos), Aegaleo (69 Dimokratias & Korydallou) and Peristeri (146 John Kennedy and 31 Aesopou & Orfeos). Two new sales points are expected to be added to the city’s map by June.