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Ahmed Bouklata of Herbs Express on herbs marketing:

"For the more unusual varieties, there is currently an additional price of up to 1 euro per kilo"

Herbs are traditionally in greater demand in December. "Business is definitely better than last year: not only because there are no longer any restrictions in the catering trade, but demand is also relatively high in the retail trade," says Ahmed Bouklata, specialist wholesaler at the Cologne wholesale market and owner of Kräuter Express.

The herb expert currently sources his goods from Morocco as well as Ethiopia. "From the latter origin, the goods, including chives and basil, reach us by plane. Until a few months ago, we had to contend with extremely high logistics costs, but in the meantime freight rates have returned to normal. We can usually offer herbs from Ethiopia all year round these days, but the Moroccan supply is manageable in the summer." 

Ahmed Bouklata is managing director of Kräuter Express, the place to go for potted and precut herbs at the Cologne wholesale market. Bouklata sources marjoram and mint, among other things, from his native Morocco. 

Inflation and cost increases are also affecting the marketing of herbs, Bouklata continues. "There is currently an additional price of up to 1 euro per kilo for the slightly fancier varieties." Bouklata says this is having a minimal impact on demand. "Chives and basil continue to do well at Christmas, followed by varieties such as rosemary, thyme and mint."

Despite the annual peak in sales in the run-up to Christmas, spring and summer are the seasons with the highest sales, Bouklata outlines. "Business usually picks up noticeably in mid-March. It's estimated that we only sell a fifth or a quarter of the volume in the winter that we turn over in the summer." This is also due to regional supply, he said. "Potted herbs grown regionally are briskly traded in the summer. But cresses in different varieties have also done well, interestingly enough, whereas now at Christmas we mainly sell the normal garden cress."

For more information:
Ahmed Bouklata
Kräuter Express
Großmarkt Köln
Tel: +49 221 937262 86
Fax: +49 221 937 262 87
Mobile: +49 177 745 7395   

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