Krinos Foods Plans to Leave LIC and Build a High-Tech Plant in Bronx

BRONX – Krinos Foods, the largest importer, packager, and producer of Greek products in the United States and Canada, has purchased land owned by the City of New York in the Bronx, where it looks forward to building and moving into a new industrial plant and headquarters.{51928}
President Eric Moschlaidis told TNH the buildings will be Krinos’ largest and the cost of the investment is expected to reach $20 million. Work is expected to begin after New Year’ Day and they hope to be finished in about two years.
Krinos’ current facilities, built in 1981, are located in Eastern Long Island City and occupy an entire block at the intersection of 48th Avenue and Northern Boulevard.
At the time that area, like the rest of Long Island City, was predominantly industrial. But over time the plants moved and today Krinos’ presence is unique. Neighbors like Gallo Wines and the pasta manufacturer, Ronzoni, have been replaced by stores and shopping malls.
Krinos has grown substantially since 1981. “We have bought eight companies and buildings in Chicago, Toronto, and elsewhere, Moscahlaidis said. But they have outgrown their LIC home. The plant we built in 1981 won an award as the best industrial building in New York City. But technology has advanced. That is one of the most important reasons for relocating. Moreover, the company has grown and the space we have is not big enough.
He stressed that the new factory will be 35% larger than the one in LIC. The new facility will allow them to introduce and produce more products, to both grow the company and increase productivity with more advanced equipment.
Krinos Foods sells more than 2500 products in the United States. We are always looking for new products to introduce to the market. We will maintain all existing products and, as always, we will look for new opportunities and new products, Moschlaidis said.
Regarding the sales of Greek feta he said: We are the largest importer of Greek cheeses in America. Demand increases each year and we will continue to promote them.”
He acknowledged that the weak economy in 2008 and 2009 hurt sales, however, he says that the demand for Greek cheese has bounced back and continues to grow every year.
Regarding the rise and fall of the euro’s value in recent years he said, “there is an impact but not as much as one would expect. When the euro had reached $1.56, our costs increased but we reduced the profit margins in order to maintain the market share we had achieved. Now that the value of the euro has fallen, prices have returned to reasonable levels, he said.{51910}{51909}
He said the Greek crisis has affected the company. “Frequent strikes and delays cause problems. Small companies do not have the funds to continue production because the banks are unable to lend and so we have to provide them support in order for them to survive.
Our suppliers were unable to operate at various times and we had to send them send them money so that they could produce goods.
Regarding the packaging and quality of Greek products, he said: I admit that there has been progress, but I think there could be more improvement in the production and packaging of products. The larger companies often update their packages and labels and have marketing programs to best promote their products, but smaller companies lack similar capabilities.
The competitiveness of Greek producers is an important issue: The quality of Greek products is excellent, but the costs are high in comparison to Italy and Spain, unfortunately. The costs are higher than they should be.
Asked if the crisis in Greece will help reduce his costs he said: Producers have not been able to lower their prices because they need to cover their losses due to the crisis. So currently there is no room to lower prices further.”
He said the situation for Greek olives and olive oil in the U.S. market is incredibly sad because Greek olive oil is by far the best in the world. Unfortunately, although we ourselves have invested significant sums in advertising, we have been unable to promote them as much as we should. The American consumer associates olive oil with Italy. Even Spain, which is the largest oil producing country in the world, has been unable to make headway promoting its oil.
Asked who was responsible, he said: Everyone is at fault. The state and the organizations responsible for the promotion of Greek products has spent money in the past, but their efforts are intermittent. There must be a long-term plan for the next ten years at least, where we spend every year and most importantly everyone works together. We have not succeeded in doing this in the past. The Italians and the French have succeeded because their governments and companies jointly invest in ad campaigns and their results are visible.{51929}
Krinos was founded in 1958 by his father, John Moscahlaidis who hailed from Amfissa. Their modern dairy production facilities produce feta cheese, yogurt and taramosalata, and package many other products. The company buys olives, mushrooms, peppers, onions and other items in bulk and then packages them in jars, cups, plastic bags, etc.
The facility which produces fillo dough is in Toronto. Krinos has a sister company, called Athens Foods, which produces fillo dough, spinach pies, baklava, kataifi, and other items.
Outside of New York the company has warehouses in the in Chicago, IL and California as well as in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver in Canada, from which its products are distributed.