MADE IN UKRAINE: FRENCH ESCARGO
Until 2009 Dmytro Butenko owned some confectionery companies and scrap metal dealer. Then he decided to invest his savings into real estate and lands. Though financial crisis in 2008 made him think over changing business area.
First he was thinking of building a rabbit farm, however, it was too expensive. Once looking at snails crawling in his yard he thought of cultivating and processing edible snails. At that time this business niche in Ukraine was vacant.
Snails have both exquisite taste and health benefits as they contain plenty of vitamins, amino acids, and one and a half time more protein than chicken egg. It is also perfectly digested and contains little fat. There are some evidences when snails’ slime could cure wounds and burns. This unique slime is also used in cosmetology for rejuvenation procedures and luxury creams production.
It took Dmytro two years to collect all information, study technological process, master snails cooking (for the first year he learnt to cook classical Escargots a la Bourguignonne).
He invested his first $12,000 in premises and equipment rent: fridges, dishware. His first snails were imported from Latvia, but later he understood that Ukrainian snails were not worse, and started buying snails from Western Ukraine.
First 'Eco Snail company' was oriented just on final consumer and advertised its products for housewives focusing on easy and fast cooking. Later it started cooperating with supermarkets and restaurants. 1kg of snails cost about 800 Hr. (in Europe the gourmet food is about 1800-2300 Hr. per kilo). The most expensive product is snail caviar which cost about $1,000 per kilo.
Today the company sells four types of snails, the most popular is classical Escargots a la Bourguignonne.
Recently, Dmytro launched developing a new direction, cosmetology (snails for such cosmetique procedure as lifting). The man sells them to private customers but in future he plans to cooperate with beauty salons.