These are exciting times in the herb market. "The local supply - and I count the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany among that - is disappearing. Globally, there have been some cultivation problems here and there due to the weather conditions, which means demand is exceeding supply for some products," says Willem Kea of Greenfresh. For almost a year now, the disappointing euro/dollar exchange rate takes away a large percentage of the margin. That's one of the reasons costs for fresh herbs have gone up. "Our strength is that we have herbs available year-round, as locally as possible and as far away as needed."Competitive edge for Israel
"Israel is particularly disappointing at the moment, also in terms of quality. Israeli growers can usually supply a bit cheaper, because they're half as far away form Europe as East Africa is. This gives Israel a competitive edge in some cases, in terms of price. However, quality, and particularly availability, will survive in the long run. Spain had some difficulties getting started, but is doing well in the market now. There is some supply from France, and for the rest we import most from Africa, which is going very well," Willem continues. According to the herb specialist, the biggest shortages have been in basil, chives and coriander in recent weeks. "The next ten days, the market will still be a bit tight, but I expect that after that supply will stabilize a bit. Regular programmes can be fulfilled well, but in the free market, there are some shortages."
A remarkable trend is that demand for packaged herbs is expanding further. Greenfresh has responded to this by moving into the building next door, and they've started using a new, additional packaging line. "Our capacity really became too small. Thanks to the expansion, we can also offer the entire herb range packaged, in (resealable) trays, flow pack, blisters, and we're more open to new ideas from the market. Working with partners and exchanging ideas has led to success for all parties many times before," Willem concludes with satisfaction.