Kontos Foods Marks Milestone with Expansion Announcement
Kontos Foods, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in October, has set plans for continued expansion of production and staff at its Paterson, New Jersey, USA factory and headquarters. In addition to hiring more full-time employees, the manufacturer and distributor of traditional artisan breads plans to enlarge its plant and install new machinery. The upgrades are projected to be complete by the end of 2020.
Kontos Foods supplies hand-stretched flatbread, fillo dough, desserts and other specialty foods to restaurants, hotels, country clubs, and cafeterias, in addition to retail specialty food stores and supermarkets worldwide. In the last four years, the company has enhanced its global distribution by shipping products to Singapore, Indonesia, the Caribbean, Panama, Bahrain, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
Over the decades, Kontos has continually innovated its portfolio to adapt to changing tastes. Recent launches include Greek Lifestyle Flatbread (a product with more protein and fewer carbohydrates than most traditional flatbreads), Cocktail Flatbread (two-inch disks for canapés and hors d’oeuvres), and Pizza Parlor Crusts made with 100% olive oil.
Even though it’s the most ancient of breads, quality flatbread in North American restaurants and supermarkets was a rarity 30 years ago. With that in mind, Evripides (“Evris”) Kontos and his son, Steve, founded Kontos Foods Inc. in 1987. The mission was to make flatbread, which for centuries had been utilized as an on-the-go wrap for vegetables and meats, true to its Mediterranean roots.
The company developed a process to hand-stretch each loaf, producing bread that is fluffier and ultra flexible. The result, hand-stretched, Kontos Pocket-Less Pita, was such a hit that Kontos followed up the success by producing Greek “Gyro” Bread, Asian Nans, Paninis and other flavored flatbreads. Eventually over 50 different varieties were on the market, most of them distributed in frozen form.
Apollo Fillo Roots
This was not the first business foray for Evris Kontos, who in 1949 emigrated from Cyprus to the United States, bringing with him the skills of a phyllo mastoras (master fillo maker). He founded Apollo Fillo, which in 1971 designed the first machine to mass-produce fillo dough, emulating the hand-stretch method closest to the authentic technique. As the appetite for fillo soared among Americans, in 1984 the Minneapolis, Minnesota-headquartered Pillsbury Company purchased Apollo Fillo.
Kontos Foods is very much back in the fillo business today, producing not only high quality fillo of varying thicknesses to suit the needs of chefs as well as persons preparing home cooked meals, but also fillo products such as Baklava, Spanakopita and Tyropita.
“Whatever we do, Kontos Foods strives to create the highest quality products for our customers,” said Vice President Steve Kontos. We pour the same energy and enthusiasm into all of our efforts to create new varieties of flatbread that resonate with different markets around the world. With the expansion project in the works, we’re excited to be able to bring more quality Kontos products into people’s home and into their favorite restaurants in the future.”