"Since the beginning of this year, there has been a strong demand for sage and rosemary from the European market. It seems that those herbs are hard to find this year. There is still a shortage of them. Due to the high demand, we have sought new suppliers for these products and have strengthened our rosemary supply. For all other aromatic herbs, both conventional and organic, demand is as usual," said Luigi D'Aniello, CEO of Italy's Ludan Fresh Supplies.
Ludan Fresh Supplies, a young and dynamic company based in the province of Salerno, grows and markets fresh herbs year-round. 90% of its production is destined for the European market.
The novelty introduced by the company this year is to combine the cultivation and marketing of aromatic herbs with that of babyleaf typical of the Piana del Sele region, such as arugula and baby spinach.
"We have included both of these new products in our assortment based on customers' requests. The reference is Europe, where we offer it in bulk, although we plan to supply it as a packaged product from next winter. About 70% is organic, the rest is conventional. We are very satisfied with the trend in sales to date. There is a good demand for both products, especially for the organic variety,” said D’Aniello.
The company is working on the geographical distribution of the crop. With production sites in Apulia and Sicily, it aims to guarantee year-round supply of good quality aromatic herbs to its customers.
"We also plan to offer eco-friendly packaged products and we are looking for new business partners to plan the cultivation more efficiently. Our goal is to increase sales by 30% in the coming winter season."
Currently, Ludan Fresh Supplies is getting ready for the summer season. From May through October, both organic and conventional basil will be available. It will be sold partly as a fresh product and partly for the processing industry. Both products come from the greenhouse and are exclusively of the best quality.
D'Aniello was also positive about Fruit Logistica 2022. "We have reconnected with our customers and this has given us renewed optimism. Although the area of fresh herbs in southern Italy is modest and weather conditions are not always favorable for harvesting large quantities, our main competitors, such as Israel, Kenya and Morocco, are facing significant cost increases in terms of logistics. This is because in most cases the product is transported in by air. The customers we usually supply have therefore expressed their worries about a further rise in these costs. Thanks to the fact that we are able to guarantee reasonably stable quantities of high-quality products, they have expressed a desire to continue working with us and to further deepen the commercial relationship by purchasing more quantities."
"There was also a request for a wider range with less common herbs such as lemon thyme, lemon balm and savory, among others. Thanks to a careful management of the supply chain, we are able to contain the costs of cultivation, packaging and transport. At the fair we did not see many stands of herb importers. Nevertheless, the relaxed atmosphere at the fair was a good basis for the sector to fly right back into it next year."