The approaching holidays always cause some busyness on the herb market. “Herbs are typically a product group that’s supplemented at the last minute. Fortunately we know what to expect regarding orders from permanent customers and relationships. We’re already seeing considerable demand, and we’re ready to meet that as we head towards the Christmas period,” says Willem Kea of Greenfresh from Rijnsburg, the Netherlands.
According to the owner, Greenfresh underwent a proper metamorphosis in recent years. “While we used to be a proper purchasing and sales office, in recent years we headed more and more towards permanent partnerships with foreign growers to enter the market together. We have built a strong position that way, primarily in East Africa, with Kenya coming first, but also in Uganda and Tanzania. We work as an extension of the grower. That doesn’t always make us the cheapest but we offer the best service.”
“Availability remains an important issue on the herb market. One day demand for chives is large, the next it’s basil, and right now, demand for mint, for instance, is considerable. We can guarantee better continuity from Africa, particularly considering the irregular weather in Europe in recent months,” Willem says.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t have an extensive network of growers we work with in the Netherlands and Europe. However, when customers ask for specially cut or bunched herbs, for instance, we can easily and immediately respond to that from Africa.”
“Availability makes or breaks a qualitatively good product. Besides, we’re selling more and more herbs directly from the grower to the customer. This way, we can offer our customers the convenience of buying directly from the source, but without the worries of contact with the growers in Africa, as cultural differences are sometimes intangible. However, that’s where we come in. Besides, they can also profit from the good routes we have with air cargo parties,” Willem explains. “It’s in our DNA to offer great service to customers with our partner growers. That’s how we want to be distinctive now and in the future.”
“We naturally also still do our own packing, and growers ask us to pack and send their products to the customer more often as well. This requires various packaging and portions. Flow-packs, sleeves, blisters and clam shells are part of Greenfresh’s permanent packaging options.”
“What we’ve noticed recently is that there’s more demand for special herbs. We have a grower who tests a broad range of herbs, and we have him experiment very actively for our customers. For example, Mexican tarragon is very much on the rise, but bronze fennel, of which I have had high hopes for years, is also doing increasingly better,” Willem continues.
“In the field of sales we’re also seeing demand and consumption increasing rapidly in the former Eastern bloc countries, and demand for environmentally friendly packaging is increasing as well.”