Evolution of fresh herbs

The evolution of the Fresh Herb trade has gone through major changes over the past 15 years or so and has yet to reach its peak. "Requirements by consumers today are more complex than just the price of Basil. Every kilo being sold today has to be accompanied by a virtual ID card depicting information such as, proof of origin, traceability, price, packaging, MRL, accreditations and, in some instances, an expiration date.

This newly implemented reality is a mere reminder that market forces, as in all other industries, drive us to excel and perfect our so called competitive edges and marginal values. "The understanding of this philosophy has brought E.R.P to invest heavily on supply sources and concentrate on its existing infrastructure and experience as a first line packer".

According to Raymond van der Burgh E.R.P has placed aspects such as, own growers, protocols, accreditations, packaging flexibility, flow of information and quality at the top of the list of priorities. "Everything we do is aimed for the long-run and for the understanding that the complexity is a threat easily turned into an opportunity. For instance, we have a team of QC personnel that conduct an audit for each incoming shipment. Whether it originates from our own farms in Holland / Kenya or, from sources such as Spain and Israel, the team is dedicated to perform an unbiased report depicting the quality and status of the shipment. The purpose of this report is to:
  • Provide our clientele real-time information on what to expect prior to collection.
  • Allow us to better investigate and solve quality issues that started developing in the pre or post-harvest process and offer complementary solutions.
Europe Retail Packaging B.V has three separate locations in Holland. These strategic locations can offer storage and other services such as custom packaging and product transshipment. More importantly however, the company has built its reputation over its capacity to pack herbs in a hygienic facility and in an array of formats. "We have clients in France asking for 30 gr bunches in separate bags, we also have retailers demanding the Basil or Thyme to be cut into 17 cm length so it could fit custom packaging. One way or another, our facilities can accommodate any given type of packaging.

It's no secret that due to affordable labor and diversity of climatic locations, Kenya is becoming a dominant player in the Fresh Herbs sector. Nevertheless, there are setbacks caused by the massive number of importers and exporters taking advantage of the Kenyan potential. According to Raymond "There is so much more than what meets the eye." Our business requires long-term solutions and information. Everyone needs to know what he buys? What he will get? When it will arrive? How it will arrive? Will it have continuity? And, what's behind the product he / she ordered (MRL disclosure, traceability etc…)? All these questions cannot be addressed by placing periodical orders and / or by not familiarizing oneself with the nature of this dedicated trade".

To tackle the above challenge, E.R.P (for the past 5 years or so) has taken upon itself a strategic decision to invest, study and control its Kenyan operations. To do so, the company developed its own brand "5 Senses" which portrays all the aspects the company deems necessarily. This includes an agreed level of quality, MRL to meet EU requirements, weighted bunches, traceability (if and when needed, due diligence), forecasts, custom packaging and uniformed supply. In other words, 5 Senses is a brand meant to be familiarized 12 months a year in both retail and wholesale avenues.

"After our success in the domestic front, Dutch Farms, we realized that the same format should be applied in Kenya if we were to succeed and hence, we invested both in knowledge and financially and also placed our own employee in Kenya to look after our interests and ensure the stability of 5 Senses."

This year Europe Retail Packaging B.V, part of the Best Fresh Group, will exhibit, independently, in Berlin's Fruit Logistica fair (Hall 3.2 / Stand C24).

E.R.P invites all involved and / or interested in Fresh Herbs to come visit its booth. The company's inevitable expansion has opened the doors to new opportunities of which, according to Raymond, are worth considering and, without doubt, could service a client base both domestically and abroad.

For more information:
Raymond van der Burgh
Europe Retail Packing B.V.
Raymond@europeretailpacking.nl
www.europeretailpacking.nl

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