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Switzerland: Imhofbio AG for the marketing of organic tomatoes

"Yields and Brix values are doing well, but demand is mixed"

In the greenhouses of Swiss organic producer Imhofbio, the harvesting of tomatoes and potted herbs is now in full swing. "We have been harvesting tomatoes for about two to three weeks now, and both the yields and the Brix values are doing well. However, the demand has been somewhat mixed so far and is below last year's level, which in turn is due to the rather cooler weather. With great barbecue weather, tomato consumption is usually much higher, and we notice that," reports Markus Flury, a salesperson at the company based in Schwerzenbach (Canton of Zurich).

Swiss organic cherry tomatoes. Imhof Bio AG primarily focuses on the production of small-fruited tomato varieties. Prices are about at last year's levels and are mostly adequate. In addition, ongoing variety trials are conducted.

In addition to organic tomatoes, Imhof Bio AG also dedicates itself to the production of about 30 varieties of potted herbs. "Basil continues to dominate the ranking, followed by parsley and chives," observes Flury. The organic operation gradually starts the harvest in early March, and by May, they can usually offer the full herb program. The harvesting window is highly dependent on the variety. "Stevia, for example, has a very short season, while we carry certain specialties through to September. From the end of July, the assortment gradually starts to decrease." For a Demeter operation like Imhof Bio, winter production in the greenhouse is not possible according to the strict guidelines.

Chives and basil: The main buyers of the organic herbs are the leading retail chains in Switzerland.

Saturated market for organic potted herbs
The sales of organic herbs are slightly stagnating, continues Flury. "We find that the market is now saturated. Moreover, the price differences not only in herbs but in the overall market are unfortunately very high at 12-15 percent. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to boost organic sales." Accordingly, the focus is not so much on growth but on optimizing and sustainably designing production. An example of this is the increasing avoidance of peat in herb production. Flury: "We have not yet completely succeeded in this, but we are on the right track and have already been able to significantly reduce the use of peat. I estimate that we will be completely peat-free in a few years."

Images: Imhof Bio AG

For more information:
Imhof Bio AG
8603 Schwerzenbach
Tel.: + 41 43 355 30 00
[email protected]

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