Selected as 1 of 20 companies globally to be included in DHL-backed program exploring international trade
Thanks to advances in technology and logistics, small- and medium-sized businesses are now real players in world trade, a movement BBC World News explores in its series “Connected Commerce” sponsored by DHL. Kontos Foods, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of ethnic artisan breads and traditional Mediterranean foods based in Paterson, N.J., was selected as one of 20 companies from around the world featured in the series, which debuted last week on BBC World News as well as online. Currently Kontos ships its products to approximately 12 countries outside the U.S., including Singapore, Indonesia, Panama, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
The BBC World News visited Kontos Foods’ Paterson facility late last year to see how it bakes flatbread, from hand-stretched dough to finished pita bread. Founded over 30 years ago, Kontos officially began its overseas expansion several years ago when it crafted a strategic plan, targeting test markets in densely populated regions, such as Asia, Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, Middle East and South America. Kontos Foods partnered with FoodExport NorthEast, a non-profit organization that supports international commerce, to attend several overseas trade shows and missions to learn about local tastes, demands and cultures.
Later this week Kontos will be in Dubai at Gulfood 2018, the world’s largest annual food and hospitality tradeshow in the Middle East, followed by stops in Tokyo, Paris and Montreal. Wherever it goes, it makes sure to highlight from its 50 varieties of flatbread the types that resonate locally. For instance, in Gulfood, its offerings include: Massala Nan, Lavash, Grilled Panini Bread, Gyro Bread, as well as Fillo Dough and Baklava. All Kontos breads are certified Halal and Kosher, which is another plus when marketing to the Middle East.
“Kontos flatbread is perfect for shipping overseas,” said Warren Stoll, marketing director. “It contains air pockets from being proofed and coated with oil before being baked to lock in moisture. Pop a frozen piece of flatbread on a hot skillet or in the oven and it tastes fresh and hot just like out of the oven—no matter how far it traveled frozen to get there.”
“We’ve been extremely strategic with our overseas growth,” said Steve Kontos, owner of Kontos Foods. “We’re constantly surveying local trends and putting forth products that appeal to those consumers. This year, for instance in Gulfood, Kontos is introducing new a Non-GMO, Preservative-Free Greek Pita, which warms up in the oven right in its bag. This is especially desired in overseas markets like Europe, the Middle East and Asia.”
About Kontos Foods: Founded in 1987, Kontos Foods, Inc. is a Paterson, New Jersey-based provider of artisan breads and traditional Mediterranean foods for restaurants, hotels, food service, retail specialty stores and supermarkets worldwide. The family-owned company specializes in hand-stretched flatbreads, including the Kontos Pocket-Less Pita®, Fillo dough, pastries, olives, gyro meats, and Greek yogurts, as well as nearly 50 varieties of multi-ethnic flatbreads. Kontos, which has over 275 employees and was founded by Evripides (Evris) and Steve Kontos, who together bring over 100 years’ experience in the premium food industry. The company’s bread and Fillo products are made in the USA. For more information, visit their website.