All people’s water
Greek family business Chitos S.A. dates back nearly 57 years of producing everyone’s favourite Zagori Natural Mineral Water, a label that has been earning the company prestige and a reputation for innovation and premium quality beyond Greece’s borders since the ‘80s.
Even earlier, in 1955, Yiannis Chitos ventured into the market of bottled gazoza, lemonade and orangeade based on the area’s natural water and the riches of the fertile meadows of Ioannina. For over three decades, Chitos family had never thought of bottling the area’s natural water, due to the lack of market demand. The Greek market was limited at that time and Zagori Natural Mineral Water had not still earned its current popularity.
Yiannis Chitos’s sons Alkiviadis and Costas were appointed as Coca Cola producers in Greece, engaging the company’s production unit at Zagori and also started producing under the Tuborg label during the same time, with the long-term goal of including their small-scale company in major enterprising groups, thus upgrading the local economies of Ioannina and Zagorochoria with vital resources. As a result, they were faced with a pleasant surprise!
When Tuborg Soda Water was quality controlled by the parent company, scientists realized that its flavour was better than the flavour of the original product! They asked brothers Chitos to have the area’s natural water analyzed and the outcome was amazing! The area’s aquifer proved to be naturally protected from any external influence and environmental pollution, while Zagori’s natural production methods guaranteed stability of quality.
Zagori’s natural water was ranked as a diamond. The need for immediate planning for the development of a local bottling unit straight from the natural source with zero human intervention proved to be urgent. The water’s origins from the virgin area of Zagorochoria guaranteed the ideal combination of premium quality with unique composition and low salt content, suitable for a low sodium diet. Next major step for Chitos family came in the middle of ‘80s along with the corporate decision to build two bottling unit facilities on privately owned land at Perivleptos and Kranoula, at the foothill of Mitsikeli mountain range.
Both units operated in process-free bottling of natural water, engaging in strict methods and controls and later followed by a third industrial unit at the Industrial District of Ioannina, planned to produce pet-performs and plastic lids to further supply the bottling of Zagorochoria natural water with quality guarantees, based on fully controlled production. At the same time in the ‘90s, the third generation of Chitos S.A. took over the company’s management.
Nikos, Vasilis and Yiannis, the founder’s grandchildren. A business family of love and respect for its human resources Despite the fact that modern companies consider low wages as their ultimate current viability solution, Chitos S.A. grows its workforce. In addition, Chitos S.A. has recently announced the management’s decision to fully sop up the wage reduction called by the implementation of current memorandum related to income tax and insurance contribution increase. Chitos S.A. workforce exceeds 200 in the 3 industrial areas.
Together with the collaborating freelancers’ team, such as the drivers, 1,200 Greek families make their living out of working for Chitos S.A. A key chapter in Chitos S.A.’s. strategic focus is export. Zagori Natural Mineral Water is exported to 14 countries worldwide, like the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, China and many more. The recent collaboration with the Cypriot market and investigation on exporting to other countries are the company’s current major issues.
– Zagori Natural Mineral Water bottling is proceeded by edge technology machinery, guaranteeing a sealed and microbiologically sterile bottling in less than 5 sec. per unit, with no human intervention, resulting in 130.000 lt of water bottling per hour!
– Chitos S.A. constructed a watering network supplying 40.000 residents of the Usigu area in Kenya with clean drinking water.
– Chitos S.A. strengthened crewing of the National Telephone Line-Children SOS 1056, resulting in answering to over 333.000 calls by hundreds of parents seeking guidance.