Kontos Foods, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this month, set plans for continued expansion of production and staff in Paterson, N.J. In addition to hiring more full-time employees, the manufacturer and distributor of traditional artisan breads plans to expand its facility and add new machinery. The upgrades are projected to be complete by the end of 2020.
Kontos Foods supplies its hand-stretched flatbread, fillo dough, desserts and other specialty foods to restaurants, hotels, country clubs, business and industry cafeterias, and to retail specialty food stores and supermarkets worldwide. In the last four years, the company has also expanded its global footprint, distributing its products to a range of locations, including Singapore, Indonesia, the Caribbean, Panama, Bahrain, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai.
Over the years, Kontos has continually innovated its product line to adapt to changing tastes. Recent launches include Greek Lifestyle Flatbread, a product with more protein, and less carbohydrates than most traditional flatbreads, Cocktail Flatbread, two-inch disks for canapés and hors d’ oeuvres, and Pizza Parlor Crusts made with 100 percent Olive Oil.
Even though it’s the most ancient of breads, quality flatbread in U.S. restaurants and supermarkets was still a rarity 30 years ago. With that in mind, Evripides (Evris) Kontos and his son Steve founded Kontos Foods Inc., (www.kontos.com), in 1987 with a mission: to manufacture flatbread, which for centuries people had used as an on-the-go wrap for vegetables and meats, true to their Mediterranean roots. To achieve the highest quality product, Kontos Foods developed a process to hand-stretch each loaf, producing a bread that is fluffier, and ultra flexible. The result: hand-stretched, Kontos Pocket-Less Pita®, which was such a hit, that Kontos Foods developed the Greek “Gyro” Bread, Asian Nans, Paninis, and other flavored flatbreads, eventually over 50 different varieties.
This was not Evris Kontos’ first business foray. In 1949, he came to the United States from Cyprus, skilled as 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. Americans’ appetite for fillo soared, and in 1984, The Pillsbury Co. purchased Apollo Fillo. Kontos Foods is back in the Fillo business today, producing not only top-quality fillo of varying thicknesses to suit any chef or home cooked needs, 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,” says Steve Kontos, Vice President of Kontos Foods. 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. We love to see the new ways home cooks and chefs are incorporating our products into different cuisines. It inspires us everyday. 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.”