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Fresh basil: an increasing market for high aroma products

The market of fresh herbs is increasing in a fast pace. Fresh herbs are gaining market as consumer are becoming more interested in food experience. In Germany, the largest market of Europe for imported fresh herbs, the import value is increasing of 42% from 2015 to 2019 .

The most popular fresh herbs in Europe are basil that cover between 60 and 75 percent of the total consumption of culinary herbs.

Photo: Basilico bouquet: Gecom variety (S.A.I.S. Sementi)

The most famous basil in the world is the Italian Basil "Genovese" type. The "Genovese" basil is unique product, easy to recognize due to its aroma.

Even the European market, like the Italian one, requires a product with high organoleptic characteristics, above all the aroma. The market increasingly rewards items recognizable by the consumer who feels able to choose the product, placing confidence in the purchase.

The Italian seed company SAIS Sementi can offer a proper catalog of "Genovese" basil to match this goal. From last arrived, Gemini, with resistance (IR) to Fusarium and powdery-mildew , to the first variety Superbo, traditional Genovese type obtained in the mid nineties.

Seed production

In basil, SAIS is a leader company on the Italian market, due to many reasons:

  • closed loop: SAIS handles all steps of the seed production, from the field to the warehouse with direct control on seed quality;
  • own research: all SAIS varieties are obtained by its R&D department;
  • next to the growers: SAIS R&D has a close and constant collaboration with growers;
  • strong presence on the markets: gives to SAIS a complete and realistic overview of markets trend.

Pot cultivation (Gemma variety)

SAIS was the first company in Italy to introduce pot basil with characteristics of "Genovese" type, aroma first of all, shape and color. The short internodes of Gecom variety opened a door for a high quality pot market.

Gecom: cultivation for traditional bouquet

Over the years, our research has developed a wide range of basil with the aim of covering the whole production season with most suitable varieties for each cycle with unchanged qualitative traits.

Varieties such as Gemma and Geniale have expanded the possibility of cultivation for the production of pot even in hot season.

Geniale: pot cultivation, the shortest in SAIS catalog.

Franca Castagnoli (Manager of R&D and Chief Breeder of SAIS) comments: "Our experience started from solving a problem: seedborne Fusarium oxysporum. We faced this problem by deep knowledge of "Genovese" basil and strict observance of seed production. From here our passion in basil began and we started also a breeding program. It was early nineties."

Franca Castagnoli (Chief Breeder and R&D Manager of SAIS)

"In recent years" Franca Castagnoli continues "what we are seeing is a run-up to the introduction of resistances without any thought on the aroma, shape and color of the traditional basil. All features that are requested by consumer and thanks to which the fresh basil market grew."

"As a seed company, as a seed producer, we are aware of the importance of resistance and working hard on it. In species such as basil, however, you can not forget that the excellence of the aroma is still the hallmark of a quality product."

"We started a breeding program dedicated to introducing resistance and the first result was Gemini. Also this variety preserves the Genovese traits in addition to resistance to Fusarium and downy-mildew (IR). Gemini is a very high regrowing variety, suited for cultivation in high temperature."

Gemini: open field cultivation for processing

Thanks to intermediate resistance, the plant can achieve a high yielding even under pressure of disease.

SAIS can offer a large basil catalog, dedicated to the needs of the individual farmer both for fresh and processing market.

For further information on our Basil catalogue, please click here.

SAIS Sementi is an italian seed Company involved in production, breeding and marketing of vegs since 1941.

In particular our research, for over 20 years, has been dealing with breeding and development of fresh tomato, basil, eggplant and pepper.

Our long history laid the foundations for innovative view that combines technological innovation with the needs of producers and market trends.

We mainly dedicate to high quality tomato varieties and "Genovese" basil. Our aims are to protect the needs of farmers and match the expectations of consumers. It means preserving the organoleptic traits, like color and taste for tomato and aroma for basil, in high yielding, easy to grow, resistant varieties.

For any further information on our work, please contact us:

S.A.I.S. Spa
Via Ravennate 214
47521 Cesena (FC) ITALY
Office: +39 0547 384250
Foreign dept.: sais@saissementi.it
R&D dept.: sperimentazione@saissementi.it


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