A company’s rich history is a crucial ingredient to its efforts in developing and sourcing quality products and bringing them to the competitive marketplace.
With innovative ideas, a passion for success, and a desire to bring customers a premium product, Loumidis Foods has become a reputable Greek brand. Having started in 1920, the latest generation of the Loumidis family strives to maintain the traditional preparation of Greek cuisine, but with a modern sustainability mindset.
The story of the company starts over 100 years ago when three brothers went into business to create a marketplace. Matthew Kalamidas, Commercial Director of Loumidis Foods, shared how their vision got started: “The original Loumidis brothers considered their resources and what was around them and recognized coffee was something they had access to. They began importing products and raw material from South America, roasting and creating one of Greece’s first consumer-packaged goods for mass production.”
In the 60s and 70s, a political climate in Greece changed and the military put a price control on commodities, creating challenges for the Loumidis brand. With that came a new generation of the Loumidis Family who would go onto to create their own company and create a new vision and brand that has accomplished enormous success.
“The second generation realized that there was a growing popularity of Greek food in the US and because one of them worked as an export manager, they considered selling in the States. The third generation were attending university in the States and opened a small office in Astoria, NY and began to sell Greek coffee there. “The industry relationships that the Loumidis family maintained with Greek producers eventually led to their business emerging in the States as Loumidis Foods, a source for premium Greek products,” shared Kalamidas.
The family’s legacy in the food industry inspired a passion to bring the Greek quality they are familiar with to the States. Additionally, with the days overlapping in the States and Greek daily interactions with the team over Zoom ensure that effective communication, despite distance and physical boundaries, are withheld. The father Sotiris, and his sons Iason and Kimon, all attended business schools and currently work from Athens. They carry the burden of the family legacy on their shoulders. They operate ethically and honestly; are very hands-on in business decisions and perform site visits to Greek suppliers regularly.”
The Loumidis Foods company has grown to 30+ brands, with its entire product line being carefully crafted and containing over 470 SKUs. The product list can be seen as addressing retail, food service, fine dining, fast-casual, and other food industry markets.
“The brands we represent openly define us and by working with them we want to be a testament to quality. We have a core group of suppliers that make up our entire plate. We want to be a solution for a restaurant or food service company. We look for their reputation in the marketplace and that they take authentic and traditional approaches with crafting their products.” Brands that Loumidis partner with include Olympus Dairy, Papadopoulos, Paliria, Nescafe, Misko and many other iconic Greek companies.
The customer base of the company is split into local food service and retail customers, U.S. Supermarket Chains, and a network of distributors that cover 23 states. This diverse range of customers can include cafes, fine dining restaurants, small mom and pop markets, as well as universities or hospitals. “This diversity allows us to play in different sandboxes and explore new opportunities. We are observing that the explosion in Greek cuisine popularity has affected consumers’ desire to explore the products and pay the premium price that expands both their knowledge and palette. This is where our brand can step in and provide customers with the consistently nutritious products that are made with authentic ingredients.”
With the consideration that people eat for the entire experience– aesthetic and food quality– Kalamidas touches on how chefs approach their menu changes. “The conversation with chefs is interesting because they all aim to be authentic and let the flavors of Greek food speak for themselves,” he said. “Traditional chefs are about using the best ingredients- it’s about the incomparable cheese, oil, and seasoning and letting the flavors speak for themselves. Some chefs are innovative, wanting to be playful with their cooking and develop a fusion-type dish. Others address ease of use and what is easy to implement that has a consistent and superior quality.”
The Loumidis team actively engages with chefs and culinary professionals to gain new ideas and put themselves in their shoes to observe their challenge and allocate solutions. The brand is excited about the upcoming Mediterranean Diet Roundtable where they can engage with buyers that are conscious of the Mediterranean diet benefits.
“The event is a means for Loumidis Foods to highlight several of Greece’s finest brands, each of which covers a key component of the Mediterranean Diet,” Kalamidas concluded. “In addition, these brands provide several solutions, which food service operators are seeking to assist them in expanding their menu to meet the market trends. As restaurants look for ways to tackle bigger sections of their menu, we want to be someone growing companies can depend on. It’s an opportunity for us to bring our intimate conversations to a much larger audience.”