Superb Herb is owned by the Pike family and was established 17 years ago when Charles Pike returned from his OE with the idea of growing fresh potted herbs as living seasoning – a trend he had noticed in European supermarkets. Flash forward 17 years and Superb Herb is now the largest supplier of fresh herbs in the country, supplying potted and pre-packed herbs to all major supermarkets, food specialty stores, restaurants, caterers, home delivery businesses and with weekly exports to Asia.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“Charles’ dad, Jim, was a former chemical engineer who had taken a sharp turn in his career to become an aubergine grower in Henderson Valley, West Auckland, so he already had an expertise in horticulture that they were able to harness to establish their new business, Superb Herb. With over 20 varieties in its range, Superb Herb has two operations, one in Henderson Valley and the largest one in Parakai with in total 80 permanent staff. Superb Herb operates seven days a week, 365 days a year and there is no slowing down in sight with the return to cooking from scratch and the increasing demand for real, vibrant flavours.”
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“Superb Herb has 20 different herbs in its range catering from Mediterranean to Asian flavours, available all year round and sold as potted or pre-packed herbs.”
“Superb Herb follows the Hazard Analysis Critical Point Food Safety Programme (HACCP). Our herbs are grown in greenhouses that are heated in winter, ventilated in summer and completely meshed which allows us to produce all year round and being 100 per cent pesticide-free.”
“But that’s not all; Superb Herb is unique in that it controls its whole production cycle from seeding to harvesting: All seed batches are carefully selected and tested before being seeded on site in a sterile peat. The water used is rigorously tested on a weekly basis so we always know that our herbs are meeting the highest standard of food safety.”
“Superb Herb is committed to being a sustainable business, completely self-sufficient for water (recirculated and filtered from dams and greenhouse roofs), recycling its cardboard and plastic, as well as its medium and also using paper pots for all the product destined for our cut production.”
“Superb Herb is constantly innovating and investing in new technology to be able supply the freshest herbs to our customers. In 2015, the introduction of a thermoforming machine resulted in production efficiency but also introduced a recyclable pack. In 2016, one of our main greenhouse, where our mint was grown, moved from being grown on beds to mechanised tables, improving not only the quality of the mint but also improving our staff workload and Health and Safety.”
“This year, Superb Herb achieved the highest level of Health and Safety standards in New Zealand and is now ACC Tertiary Accredited.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“Ken Rogers was appointed Superb Herb’s CEO in 2014 taking the business to the next level. In 2015, Superb Herb rebranded which helped brand recognition and consistency as herbs were packed in three different brands before then.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“Culinary leafy greens were tested in Christmas 2016 and will be launched in 2017 with some exciting development that will expand Superb Herb reach into consumers’ kitchens.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
“Superb Herb is blossoming and is planning a new automated greenhouse at its Parakai site in 2018/19. This will allow the business to open new export markets as well as being able to add new varieties to its range.”