Proton Bakers turns sixty

The Chronicle

It’s a milestone! 60 Years of Baking “The Best Of The Best”.

The origins of the Company

The family-owned Proton Bakers was established in Marondera some 60 years ago. The bakery was founded by Peter Tselentis, born on the Greek Island of Kefalonia. He left Greece at the age of thirteen to find employment to assist his family who could not make ends meet. Peter arrived in Zimbabwe in 1947 and worked for several bakeries in Harare where his entrepreneurial spirit was driving his passion for work.

In 1947 Peter left Harare to settle in Marondera where he worked for the Model Bakery which was owned by the Vandoros brothers, Anthony and Gerasimos, who also owned a general dealing company. After working at The Model Bakery for four years Peter was approached to run a new bakery, Mutare Bakery for the Zambelis family.

While waiting for Mutare Bakery to be completed in 1951, Peter found employment at the original London Bakery in Rezende Street, where he worked as a baker and confectioner. In 1953 the Vandoros brothers recognised Peter’s entrepreneurial spirit and gave him the opportunity to rent Model Bakery from them.

He left Mutare Bakery to settle in Marondera. Peter ran the business very successfully for a couple of years before he offered to buy out the Vandoros brothers and become sole owner of Model Bakery. In time, Peter would buy out Standard Bakery situated in Marondera as well.

Running the bakery was hard during those difficult days – there were shortages of plant equipment and raw materials. Suppliers such as Rhodesian Milling (National Foods Limited) were supportive of Peter’s business, as were many other suppliers. Strong relationships and loyalty were formed and are still in place to this day.

The entrepreneurial flair remains in the new generation of the Tselentis family with Peter’s vast experience as a strong foundation cascaded to the new generation of management led by Gerry, and Spiros Tselentis.

National Foods Limited

The organisational structure has also revolved to adjust to the current business environment. This has resulted in enhanced competitiveness and following an ambitious business growth strategy.

A strong sense of pride and passion was instilled in the family business and this will continue to be cascaded to the new generation of leadership the company driven by high quality expectations across all aspects of product and service delivery excellence.

How company developed to become national force
Proton Bakers head office is in Marondera where all the manufacturing takes place and then distributes its products through the Harare and Bulawayo Depots. Proton Bakers now have representation nationally through the various retail and wholesale partners.

Proton Bakers is driven by innovative culture which have seen the introduction of the Proton Caramel Crunch Cookies and the Proton Chocolate Select Cookies to bring a smile to the consumers. Another highly innovative product, the Proton Sponge Cake Mix was introduced in December 2020 well in time for the Christmas baking period.

The consumers are highly satisfied with this product and have brought a lot of relief to domestic and industrial bakers who used to rely on imports. Over the past 60 years, the company has been refreshing its brand to adjust and adapt to the ever-changing consumer needs.

This has led to the company being recognised through various awards including top positions in the Marketers Association Super brands, Exceptional Marketers Awards, the Buy Zimbabwe campaign awards, The CEO Africa Round Table as well as Mega Fest Business awards.

Proton Bakers reached another milestone by being awarded the 2021 Marketers Association of Zimbabwe Superbrand of the Year.

The Marondera-based bakery was also awarded the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) Bakery Sectoral Winner as well the Winner in the Top 20 Business to Consumer category at a colourful ceremony presided over by the MAZ patron who is also the Minister of Information and Publicity, Hon Monica Mutsvangwa.

Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

The company’s product range has grown over the past 60 years to include a wide range of bread, confectionery, cookies and sponge cake mix.

These include:
-Proton Superior White loaf,
– Proton Superior Wholemeal Loaf,
– Proton Superior Seeded Loaf,
– Proton Burger Buns,
– Proton Twisted Rolls,

– Proton Mini Rolls,
– Proton Sweet Buns,
– Proton Hot Cross Buns,
– Proton Jumbo Buns,

Proton superior white loaf bread

– Proton Candy Cake,
– Proton Ramba Waraira Crunch Cookies,
– Proton Caramel Select Cookies,
– Proton Chocolate Select Cookies and
– Proton Sponge Cake Mix,
– Proton Strikers Biscuits.

Proton Bakers would like to thank all the customers and key stakeholders who have made the 60-year journey possible. Their support is enough motivation to drive the Proton Brand for another 60 years and beyond of providing the Best Of The Best products.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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