The Herrmann Kräuter company from Neuss recently decided to introduce a packaging carton made of recycled cardboard with a minimal amount of plastic, harmonizing the interests of both customers and the environment. "Consumers are looking for sustainable and practical packaging and herbs of outstanding quality. Retail attaches great importance to an appealing product presentation, efficient and protected transport and easy handling," says Managing Director Thomas Herrmann. "We are committed to sustainability in all areas of our company, and we wanted to combine this with the needs of consumers and retailers."
"Instead of a plastic bowl with a plastic lid, we now work with a tray made of FSC-certified recycled cardboard with a resealable plastic film, which guarantees freshness and long shelf life, aimed at convenience." The packaging is stackable, easy to handle and enables individual prints for an attractive product presentation, the managing director continues.
However, the introduction of the new form of packaging did not happen overnight: "Quality and innovation are important building blocks of our success, which is why we are in constant contact with our customers and the manufacturing industry. We have followed a variety of ideas and developed and tested a wide variety of solutions. The sealable cardboard tray was the best solution for the requirements involving packaging, cooling, storage and transport."
In addition to the herbs from their own cultivation, the traditional company also offers imported goods to supplement the range. "The packaging provides a very good transport protection, so it is perfect for the delivery of own goods or imported herbs and you do not have to fall back on different types of packaging."
The search for a new, suitable packaging for herbs is particularly difficult because it is a very sensitive product. The expert explains further: "A fundamental feature is the oxygen exchange.While most fruit and vegetable products require a high oxygen exchange, we will lock up herbs almost airtight to guarantee a long shelf life. This is the only way the moisture stays in the herbs, but at the same time it is a challenge for the carton." Apart from this, spoilage for packaged herbs is very low in comparison to potted herbs and loose goods. This means these herbs come arrive in the consumer’s kitchen well protected and fresh.
Another sales channel for the herbs from the Herrmann range is gastronomy, which also benefits from the new packaging: "Due to the reclosure option, this packaging is in great demand, not only in retail but also in wholesaling and catering. From 15g to 2kg, there is something for every customer."
What is the future of the herbs trade in Germany and Europe? "The market for herbs is generally growing, and this is reflected in the depth of our assortment. Our herbs enjoy the most individualized printed texts on the cardboard trays: the regional origin, the faces behind our products, ideas for their use: It is all there. All of these aspects can be communicated via our new packaging with minimal use of plastic, which makes the cardboard tray appealing not only to the environment but also to the eye."
27 herbs and 8 types of cress
Herrmann Kräuter is a fourth-generation herb growing and processing company that grows herbs and cress varieties on 450 hectares and packs 27 varieties of herbs and 8 types of cress, 365 days a year. The company supplies packaging companies in 15 countries, as well as catering suppliers and food retailers. In summer, a good 150 to 200 tons of herbs per week are shipped, while in winter additional goods from Italy, Spain, Kenya, Israel and Morocco are purchased to meet the demand. Organic herbs are also very important to this company, and so the acreage is expected to rise by 15 hectares next year.