Buysman Kruiden in the Netherlands is getting ready for the Christmas bustle. "Because of COVID-19, everyone's having Christmas dinner at home. That's resulted in a substantial increase in turnover this year. Our supermarket clients are already predicting a 20% rise in sales over Christmas," says Piet Buysman.
"Our advantage is that we supply fresh herbs to mainly supermarkets and garden centers. Sales to both these canals have grown considerably. We only have a single hospitality industry client. And that demand dropped right away. So our sales have had a big boost. Of course, we hope for an end to this coronavirus pandemic soon. You can earn money now, but you can't make up for that. We haven't changed anything about pricing either. You aim for long-term relationships with your clients."
"Basil, mint, and chives are our top sellers. Parsley and coriander supplement these. But, these have been in the top five for years," says Piet. "We supply only common herbs. Over the past two years, we've done trials with organic cultivation in a separate greenhouse. So, we could compare the crops. Cultivation isn't the problem. Organic herbs have a much shorter shelf life in the winter. That's why we stopped."
Buysman Kruiden is a true family business. They have been growing herbs for 30 years. Piet, Vok, Jos, Louis, Erik, Mark, Jeroen, and Paul run the company. They're the Buijsman father, three cousins, and their four sons. "I'm among the four oldies. The four boys will soon have to take over," Piet laughs.
Buysman Kruiden likes to be at the forefront of technological developments. For example, the company's been vertically farming chives for three decades. They've also been using LED lights for half that time. "We're currently testing a new type of white LED lighting. That's a completely different approach. But things look good, and it produces an entirely different crop."
The latest development is that the company is stoking hydrogen. "Our boiler is already suited to this. We just have to make the hydrogen. I have great faith in its success. We have to do something about CO2 emissions. Then it's better to lead the way," concludes Piet.