Even before the full-scale invasion, crispy cheese balls snEco were much loved by thousands of Ukrainians. Their unique property made it possible to store cheese snacks even without a refrigerator. The business owners had big plans for the future, but the war made its own adjustments. To survive, the company had to be relocated to another part of the country while the management decided to donate all the money earned to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The manufacturing at a new place has been resumed thanks to a microgrant from EU4Business.
The First Ukrainian eco labeled snack
Two brothers Pylyp and Vadym Gryshyn founded Prime Snack in Kharkiv. The idea of a healthy, delicious and filling snack appeared back in 2015. Men sought to find a technology to keep cheese for a long time without much conditions. And finally they found it!
The eco-snack was developed based on NASA technology in the 1970ies to provide astronauts with healthy nutrition: to ensure minimum weight of space food, the ingredients are dehydrated in the microwave vacuum to remove all the moisture. For the Gryshyn brothers, fusion and experimentation lasted eighteen months. Using this technology, entrepreneurs managed to dry the cheese while maintaining its nutrients. Thus, in 2016, a new product called snEco appeared in Ukraine.
The company patented its method of making a healthy snack. At present, this technology of drying cheese is used in Ukraine by Prime Snack only. Besides, entrepreneurs were the first in Ukraine to create snacks without adding other ingredients. Due to this, in 2018, the company received the EU Ecolabel Certificate, so they have every right to call their cheese balls the first eco labeled snack in Ukraine.
Prime Snack features 12 different types of cheeses. You can buy them on the company’s website or in large supermarkets and gas stations across the country. Before February 24, 2022, the company produced about three tons of products on a monthly basis. The brothers had ambitious production expansion plans and dreamed of exports to Europe, but one day changed everything.
What to do next?
To continue in spite of everything
What challenges are there today?
Plans for the future
Currently, Prime Snack is actively developing exports to Europe. The Gryshyn brothers began this process back in pre-war Kharkiv, but now, being stationed only 100 km from the EU border, they believe it will be even easier for them. At the beginning of the war, the company even had several proposals to relocate to Europe, but the founders decided to stay in Ukraine.
In the fall, Pylyp and Vadym have already opened a representative office in Poland and concluded contracts for export of snEco products to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Switzerland. So now entrepreneurs are engaged in the production certification necessary to start supplies.
“In Zakarpattia oblast, there is only one company that has the license to export food to the EU. We can become second in the entire region,” says Pylyp. “In general, only 12 businesses are authorized to export dairy products from all over the country. This is a rather closed club, which is not easy to get into.”
Before the Great War, Prime Snack was also planning to expand its assortment of goods. Using its unique technology, the enterprise can dry everything. The company has already experimented with meat, fruits and vegetables. In Kharkiv, they thought about building a second shop to dry meat. But it takes time and significant investment to start new products, so it was then decided to postpone this project.
“We have big plans, and we know exactly where we are heading to. The main goal for the future is to develop new products,” explains Pylyp. “Grow into a large enterprise that will work in our country. We want to make our products in Ukraine and sell them around the world.”
In 2022, Prime Snack produced more than 30 million cheese balls. In 2023, the company plans to reach 50 million. We wish this company much success in implementing this and other plans!
Microgrants are supported by the international cooperation programme “EU4Business: SME Competitiveness and Internationalisation” that is co-financed by the European Union and the German Government and is implemented by the German federal company “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH” in cooperation with The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, The Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, the public service online portal "Diia", the national project for development of entrepreneurship and export Diia.Business, and the Ukrainian state institution the Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office. The microgrant initiative implementing partner is the International Charity Organization East Europe Foundation.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union and the German Government. Its contents are the sole responsibility of East Europe Foundation and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union and the German Government.
Photos: © LLC "Prime Snack", authors — Oleg Siomochkin and Pylyp Gryshyn.