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Sonnentor: customers are backing organic herbal produce from Austria

3. June 2016

These organic pioneers have been winning over customers with their impressive range of herbs and spices – and sustainable production is central to their success.

Austria’s trading partners are well aware of the excellent quality of Austrian foods, and this is especially true of organic produce, where Austria is amongst the leading countries in Europe: 19.4% of all agricultural land is farmed organically, with one hectare of farmland in five managed organically and every sixth Austrian farmer working to organic principles.

Based in Sprögnitz, Lower Austria, the Austrian company Sonnentor is an organic pioneer. The company was founded on the idea of taking the specialist herbs grown by the region’s organic farmers and marketing them at a national and international level. Sonnentor has 23 businesses at home and abroad and has forged contractual partnerships with 215 accredited organic farmers across Austria and Germany. The company has subsidiaries in the Czech Republic and Romania and cultivation projects in Albania, Tanzania and Nicaragua. More than 700 products – including organic teas and spices, scented and cosmetic products and a wide range of sustainable and creative accessories and gift items – are distributed in 50 countries around the world, with an export ratio of about 70%.

 In 2015/16, Sonnentor’s turnover in Austria hit nearly EUR 36 million. Profits are reinvested (in a new production and storage facility, for example), and an organic farm – to be run on permaculture lines – is due to open at the company’s Sprögnitz headquarters in August. Herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables will be cultivated on the energy-efficient 4.5-hectare site – with neither fertilisers nor expensive farming machinery.