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'Do I have the right variety, supplier or origin?'
Knowledge prevents consumer herb disappointmentSocial media, along with 'clean eating' and 'root to shoot' trends, have provided a huge boost for the fresh herb industry. As people are becoming more adventurous with their cooking, the popularity of Eastern and Mexican cuisine has also added to the increase in demand for fresh herbs in the supermarket. For example, sales of fresh herbs in pots are at record levels this year, with coriander, parsley and basil at the top of the list in the UK.
The Innovative Fresh program, is working on giving suppliers and retailers more insight into the herbs they are offering so they are able to make a more informed decision on what to offer their customers.
"Some of the things that suppliers need to ask themselves is if they have the right variety, supplier or origin? What is the difference between parsley grown in a field, compared to the greenhouse product? Is there some improvement that can be made in the long supply chain to the store, where good in-store care and management of the crop is essential," urged Magnus Nilsson from Innovative Fresh.
"Herbs are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, so in a good visual display the customer will be drawn to fresh looking, bright coloured leaves, with plenty of volume. In terms of quality, customers are looking for a strong aroma, good flavour and a decent shelf life. The biggest challenge, though, is that it can be disappointing to buy a pot of basil, only to have it wilt after three days." said Magnus Nilsson from Innovative Fresh.
Fresh potted herbs offer better value to consumers compared to the cut herbs in packs, usually equating to less waste, but it is also very important that the shelf life, flavour and quality are in balance for the customer.
"When we purchase and analyse fresh herbs, we normally see huge differences between stores. In a pot of basil, the leaf volume can differ from 20 to 55 grams per pot. There can also be a vast difference in taste – sometimes we have samples with no flavour at all," shared Nilsson.
"Leaf quality is one of our most important parameters – the colour, and the balance between stems and leaves. Just as important is our appreciation of scores of aromas and tastes. In our laboratory in Sweden we carry out shelf life tests in order to help our customers to be the best in fresh."
For more information:
Tel: (+46) 42 14 70 70
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