'I quit my job after spotting a gap in the market. The product became an Aldi Specialbuy in the first year'

The Greek Farmer founder Tony Charalambides and Aldi store sign in pictures

Tony Charalambides set up The Greek Farmer after deciding to pursue a career change

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 19/05/2024

- 16:38

Updated: 21/05/2024

- 11:59

The Greek Farmer now wants to become the biggest British producer of charcuterie

With 20 years of experience in construction, Tony Charalambides, 43, was brimming with ideas over what to do with a disused grain silo when he and his family bought Langley Hill Farm in 2018.

He had thought it would make a good office or a children's playroom.

Then, walking past one day in 2020, he realised it could be converted into a smokehouse.

At that point, in the wake of the Covid pandemic, Charalambides was ready for a new challenge and wanted a change in career path.

Charalambides put his thinking cap on and decided to visit Cyprus and Greek islands as part of his research into curing meat.

"I wanted something that's going to carry on my dad's Greek Cypriot heritage," he told GB News.

The Greek Farmer founder Tony Charalambides with charcuterie product

Tony Charalambides realised there was a gap in the market for Greek-influenced British charcuterie in the UK


"There was a gap in the market. There was no one producing any Greek-influenced British charcuterie in the UK.

"That's where The Greek Farmer sort of really began."

The entrepreneur got stuck into a wealth of research and development, while at the same time transforming the disused space into a charcuterie production site.

"Obviously I had to learn a lot, and I had to build a facility," he said. "It was challenging, and it still is challenging, having taken on something you've never done before."

Just a couple of weeks into getting approval for the business, Charalambides saw a Facebook post about a new TV show called "Aldi's Next Big Thing", which sees hopeful suppliers compete for a space on Aldi's shelves.

Charalambides recalled: "I didn't really expect much out of it, but I thought to myself, 'Why not?'"

The Greek Farmer went on to win the top prize, supplying Aldi with 15,000 packs just three months after launching the business. The product sold out within seven days.

Charalambides said: "It was a bit of a shock to be honest, from supplying just a few farm shops and delis in our local area to then being told we had to supply 15,000 packs to Aldi.

"But I've been self-employed all my life so I don't mind a bit of graft and hard work.

"It meant a lot to see your product on a shelf in the supermarket in your first year of trading, without any sort of outside investment, just savings.

"It was a shocking moment, but it was also a pleasant moment at the same time."

The Greek Farmer is back in 85 Aldi stores across the south east of England at the moment.

The products are available as a monthly SpecialBuy, with stock refreshed monthly.


"It's been a fast journey," Charalambides said.

"The plan is to keep on growing as fast as we can."

The Greek Farmer hopes to become a permanent fixture on a supermarket shelf in the long term, and is also planning to grow their B2B (business to business) presence.

"We want to be the biggest British producer of charcuterie that there can be," he said.

Charalambides' advice to other entrepreneurs is simple: "Hard work pays off in the end."

You may like