Manufacturing Growth Programme supports winner of ‘Aldi’s Next Big Thing’ to boost their production capacity | Manufacturing Growth Programme

The Greek Farmer Limited began in 2018 when Tony Charalambides & his family moved to Langley Hill Farm, near Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Tony decided to convert a disused grain silo into a walk-in smokehouse for producing high-quality smoked and cured meats. It took until late 2021 to perfect the curing and smoking processes.

The Greek Farmer Limited approached the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) in July 2022 to help them to achieve their business growth ambitions. MGP has been able to provide the business with grant funding to increase their production capacity by part-funding new packing machinery and a meat preparation surface. This extra capacity was urgently needed because the business took their chance to be on the new Channel 4 TV show: Aldi’s Next Big Thing.

Tony Charalambides, Director of The Greek Farmer Limited commented, “The MGP support was a huge relief both for scalability and cashflow. It meant we could scale in the short space of time we had by investing in the machinery we needed. This ensured we were in Aldi stores on time. Our Growth Manager Amanda Freeland was very helpful, professional and made the process extremely straightforward. I look forward to working with her again in the future.”

Tony Charalambides, The Greek Farmer Limited. Manufacturing Growth Programme. SME Manufacturing Client.

Tony Charalambides, Director of The Greek Farmer Limited.

Tony says of his amazing win, “After many months and a lot of hard work, we found ourselves pitching at Aldi HQ as part of a TV series that would be airing later in the year on Channel 4 prime time! The pitch was successful, and we got through to the finals.

And it worked, we won! Now the hard work really started. How would we go about slicing and packing 15,000 packs of cured meat to supply to Aldi!? Investing in new machinery was the only way this would be feasible…”

Amanda Freeland, Manufacturing Growth Manager for MGP, rapidly arranged for capital grant funding towards the cost of their new equipment. The MGP funding has meant they are able to meet the tight production timescales for a huge order. The funding has helped The Greek Farmer to create several new jobs and to have the capacity to follow through with delivering on their Aldi contract win.

MGP is currently the UK’s largest and leading business support programme for SME manufacturers. The programme is designed and delivered by Oxford Innovation Advice and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Unfortunately, the Manufacturing Growth Programme is due to end in early 2023 as the ERDF funds are being phased out. Plans to include this ‘lifeline for manufacturing SMEs’ within the Shared Prosperity Fund remain unclear.

Amanda Freeland, commented, “It is amazing that this small company, which only began trading in December 2021, was able to make such a hit with the Managing Director of Buying at Aldi by the quality and consistency of their products, and to win this prestigious national competition. Their smoked meats will be stocked in every Aldi store across the UK – a dream come true for a small producer. It’s an incredible achievement, a great success story. I am genuinely delighted that MGP has been able to help them gear up to meet the growth challenge by supporting them with a grant for faster manufacturing equipment. Their story is a genuine inspiration!”

The business is committed to using British meat and turning out a unique high-quality range of charcuterie products.

Future plans for the business include further upscaling of their business to meet an even higher demand.

Find out more about The Greek Farmer here: