From sea to supper
Fishing has been the lifeblood of many a Greek family for generations. By embracing the values of sustainability, quality and great taste, KONVA’s line of products have been a staple of the country’s seafood diet for almost a century
With its extensive coastline and numerous islands, Greece’s geography has allowed it to support intensive fishing activity for hundreds of years. While the country’s economy has experienced, what can perhaps be described as, choppy waters in the last decade, its fishing industry has managed to weather the storm. In 2012, financial consulting firm McKinsey projected that Greek fishing had the potential to create revenues of nearly one billion euros over the next decade, supporting tens of thousands of jobs.
Possessing over 90 years of family business activity, KONVA SA is a purely Greek company engaged in the processing, canning and distribution of fish products. “By combining our business activities, we have managed to expand our business spectrum into the production of chilled and frozen fish products,” states Gianna Tzika, Managing Director of KONVA. “We have successfully established the TRATA and FLOKOS brands in the marketplace and today we have the richest line of fish products available, including sardines, anchovies, tuna, squid, octopus and herring, each sourced in a sustainable manner.”
KONVA’s main production line is responsible for its much loved TRATA sardines and anchovies. “Like all of our products, our TRATA sardines and anchovies are renowned for their unique appearance and quality,” Gianna explains. “Light and tender, with flavourful flesh minus scales, our products benefit from the unique conditions and biodiversity of the Aegean Sea. Accompanied with select ingredients, such as Greek olive oil, tomato and oregano, our end products are always of exceptional taste. This has now been extended to our TRATA smoked tuna, the only product of its kind that is smoked in a real wood fire oven, adding a new twist for lovers of this fish.”
Located in Kilkis, Northern Greece, KONVA’s factory comprises of a large production unit, storage, packaging and technical facilities, and a quality control division. It is from this location that the company also houses its accounting, procurement, marketing and export departments, while its sales department operates out of its Athens office, which also boasts a second storage unit to provide faster service to customers located in the region.
“KONVA has a long history of making considerable investments in our infrastructure and the technological equipment we utilise,” Gianna explains. “Examples of this investment can be found in the first robotised line for sardine production, the mechanised production line we use for our tuna salads, calamari and octopus, and the developments we have made in improving our flexibility when it comes to packaging our end products. As a result of these actions we have been able to ensure continued high quality, and achieve higher production volumes and lower production costs, while still meeting our client’s needs concerning usage, packaging and taste.”
Certified to ISO 9001:2007 and ISO 22000:2005 standards, and according to the BRC Global Standard for Food and the IFS International Food Standard, KONVA is also proud to be registered in the catalogue of the US Food and Drug Administration. All of the company’s suppliers must of course comply with the demands of these certifications, with the highest levels of quality maintained through a combination of the testing of product samples, the evaluation of certificates and regular visits to the supplier’s premises.
Like the waters of the Aegean Sea, the market in which KONVA operates is constantly moving and shifting, and as such it is essential that it is monitored as closely as possible. “As with any company, there will always be challenges that we have to face, but we believe we possess all the tools needed to overcome what can be incredibly varied circumstances,” Gianna enthuses. “A recent example of such a challenge was in fact created due to the severe conditions caused by the El Niño phenomenon, which resulted in a significant drop in the supply of Californian squid, one of the FLOKOS brands’ most successful products. In response to this we identified a gap in the Greek market that we believed could be filled by utilising a different species of squid, so essentially we turned what was a challenge into an opportunity.”
Creating and capitalising on new opportunities will be essential for KONVA as it looks to achieve its medium to long terms goals. “Our main strategic vision moving forward is to export our products to as many countries throughout Europe as possible, thus expanding awareness of our brand,” Gianna concludes. “This is an ambitious target but it is one that we feel we are very well placed to achieve. After all, it is 100 per cent correct when we say, we love our job and we certainly love our fish.”