Adriana Chelli, Les Herbes du Roussillon:

"European aromatic herb market is growing strongly"

For over twenty years, the company Les Herbes du Roussillon has produced aromatic herbs in the South of France. Adriana Chelli: "We are producer and packer at the same time. This way, we distinguish ourselves from the rest of the market. Roussillon's herbs increased its revenue, as well as its workforce, tenfold between 2009 and 2017. Adriana: "For now, we are happy. Now we must continue to grow."

The aromatic herb market has grown strongly in recent years. "Sometimes our revenue increased by 20% a year.” According to Adriana, the company's success is largely thanks to packaging. "Our packages are easy to open and close. Supermarkets like this system. This is very convenient for the end consumer, as they guarantee the preservation of the herbs for several days. The visual impact of the packaging is not to be underestimated either. We tried to establish a true brand image with bright colours."

Adriana Chelli during the Perpignan Medfel in April

Customers of Les Herbes du Roussillon are mainly wholesalers, offices and restaurants. The company is present in the entire range. "Freshly cut aromatic herbs are the heart of our business, but we also offer complementary products, such as potted plants and dried herbs."

The bestseller products of Roussillon Herbs are basil, chives, coriander, mint and parsley. "Parsley is a must-have product, because it’s used in every kitchen in the world. The differences between the consumption patterns of northern and southern countries tend to fade. I think it's due to the role played by the media. Cooking shows like Masterchef are translated into different languages, and inspire consumers all over the world."

However, Adriana points out that, to some extent, the consumption of herbs is always linked to the culinary specificities of a crop. "The consumption of chives is higher in northern countries, because it’s less known in the south. Dill, in turn, is more popular in the north than the east, and basil is still more consumed in the south than the north, despite the fact that the consumption of this Mediterranean herb is increasing in northern countries."

Les Herbes du Roussillon is mainly present on the French market. "We also have some customers abroad, but the longer the trip, the harder it is to transport such fresh goods. Three years ago, we exported herbs to Asian countries by plane. It went very well, but it’s obviously expensive. It’s easier to export to neighbouring countries, and there still are several markets to develop in Europe."

Les Herbes du Roussillon offers twenty types of herbs throughout the year. "Basil and chives are very hard to grow in winter; therefore, we have partnerships with producers who are located even more to the south than we are. A part of our farming is in tunnels or greenhouses. We have a lot of production during the winter months, but you have to be careful."

Like all farmers, Les Herbes du Roussillon faces new challenges. "At the European level, there are big changes regarding the phytosanitary treatments traditionally allowed. We are forced to find a variety of methods, without raising prices too much. But I am convinced that agriculture will turn to healthier methods for everyone: for us, as well as for the consumer."

For more information :
Les Herbes du Roussillon
Adriana Chelli

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