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Swedish producer reducing waste with cut basilA good distribution chain is very important for the transport of all fresh fruits and vegetables, but this is especially true for fresh herbs. One bad experience because of improper cooling can greatly affect sales. According to Jerry Orrebacken from Spisa, a bad history of transport for basil has made some consumers wary when choosing which herbs to buy.
"Each herb has its own different needs during transportation and with such long distances to travel in Sweden, we need to be aware of the best way to transport for all. Sweden is a very long country, taking 30 hours to get from the south to the north, so, so the correct temperature is very important for keeping the quality of the herbs," shared Jerry.
The 3 most popular herbs in Sweden are basil (which makes up half of the demand), coriander and mint. Jerry shared that it was a juggling act sending the three of these herbs together, because they all need different temperatures. Coriander does well when cooled to around 4 degrees, and basil needs above 14 degrees. In the past all of the herbs in pots, were all sent together, but often the basil would suffer from the cold temperatures which shortened the shelf life and made customers wary of buying the herb in the fear that it wouldn't last. Coriander, because of its delicate leaves, would often arrived bruised as well, causing leaves to turn brown, which made people think that it was going bad, when it was actually just damaged.
"The most important thing in our business is the ability to adapt and change things along the way to be able to offer the best product possible to our customers. This is why we have started offering cut basil in flowpack, which fares better in slightly colder transport and has an official shelf life of 7 days, although I have had it last up to two weeks," said Jerry.
"Herb prices in Sweden are quite high at the moment, but I think that it is unfair to the consumer. Retailers say that they need to keep the prices up to make up for the waste from basil, among others, but I think that they are going the wrong way about it. They need to focus on promoting more sales, lowering the price will encourage consumers to buy more and I think that they will find that more sales will also balance out their losses."
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