Herbs are particularly popular at this time of year when meals are centered around warm savory dishes. During the fall and winter, we see an increased demand for Chives, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme as well as holiday specific blends. As wonderful as they are, herbs are delicate and require a high level of maintenance. For most produce departments, herbs are one of the most frequently tossed out items due to shrinkage. So, the big question is bunched or packaged? The answer depends on how quickly herbs moves in your produce department.
Clamshell packed herbs generally have a longer shelf life than “naked” bunched herbs. The plastic clamshell offers protection from the harsh airflow in the cold case and helps to keep them from drying out when sitting on a dry table. This is particularly helpful for finnicky herbs like Basil. The clamshell also reduces damage caused by excess handling, climate and storage, making them lower maintenance than bunched herbs—a good option if you’re tight on labor. Although clamshell herbs have a longer shelf life, they still need to be moved quickly and checked daily for product breakdown.
Bunched herbs are visually more attractive and are environmentally friendly- no excess packaging!. Bunched herbs can be stored in containers with a small amount of water to keep them fresh. They can be kept like this for a day or two but ideally need to be moved out quickly before they start to look tired. If you are not selling through certain herbs fast enough, clamshells for those varieties might be the better option for your store.
Don’t forget to educate your staff and shoppers on best practices for storing herbs once they get home. Optimal storage can prolong herb life and reduce waste by several days!
- At home bunched herbs can be stored in a container like a mason jar on the countertop with a small amount of water. If the herbs will not be used in a day or two, consider an airtight container of choice in the refrigerator for longer storage.
- Clamshell herbs can be left out of refrigeration for a day or so but should be moved into refrigeration in a paper bag if they need to be stored longer.
Need an herb assessment? Contact Kerri Williams, our Merchandiser at email@example.com, for an in-person or virtual consultation!