"We created our Sempreverde range due to the increasing interest in potted aromatic herbs and with the objective of optimizing the resources used while introducing containers other than vases. We are talking about basil and parsley plants placed in clever cardboard boxes. The herbs destined to this range will only be grown with organic techniques. This range guarantees a longer shelf-life and can be placed outside refrigerated shelves. What is more, customers can use aromatic herbs more frequently," reports Luigi D'Aniello, sales manager of Ludan Fresh Supplies located in Eboli (Salerno) in the heart of the Sele plain.
Ludan Fresh Supplies is a young dynamic company set up in April 2020. It specializes in packed unwashed aromatic herbs to be consumed fresh and it manages the entire chain (from production to shipping). The project was born from a partnership gathering the most important producers of fresh herbs in Campania and Sicily. Cultivated areas covers 35 hectares of open fields and greenhouses. What is more, the company also owns a 500 sq m processing warehouse. It grows basil, rosemary, sage, mint, thyme and parsley which are available all year round.
Another leading range is Aromaexpress, "a range or premium aromatic herbs studied for consumers who care for the environment and available in 30 and 100 gram trays. We also have loose produce in crates and bunches in crates, cardboard or polystyrene boxes."
"The aromatic herb market is growing. The most popular product on a European level is basil, though it is difficult to source in winter and a lot of it is imported. To meet the increasing market demands, we manage to produce it in Sicily where, thanks to advanced techniques such as the floating system, we optimize production inputs and yields per hectare with shorter harvesting intervals.
A crucial aspect to guarantee high-quality is to ship the produce on the same day it is harvested. Deliveries all over Europe take 24-48 hours. Refrigerated transport is essential, as it improves the quality of the produce and increases its shelf-life, as the temperature is regulated depending on the product.
"We mainly work with the foreign market, where we sell loose produce to packaging or processing companies. In the future, we want to focus more on our Aromaexpress and Sempreverde ranges to increase our presence on both foreign fresh produce markets and the big retail chain."
The company is looking to invest in innovative solutions to become more environmentally aware. Thanks to the floating system technique, in fact, it is possible to considerably lower the water wasted (up to 70% a year) and reduce the use of plant protection products (up to 90%). All this is in line with a corporate vision that prefers using recyclable materials and aims at minimizing waste.
"There is still a lot to be done in this sector when it comes to varieties, production, storage, transport and shelf-life, and we also aim at reinventing packaging and developing with new products."