Ever bought any dried oregano or eaten anything with oregano in it? Then you’ve probably eaten some that came from the Kutas factory in Turkey. Here you’ll find and smell the most oregano in one place in the world, as well as other herbs such as sage, thyme and savory. There’s a lot more that goes into getting these herbs into your food than you might think – as I found out after the gastroeconomy summit, thanks to a chance meeting in Izmir, with Kazim Gurel, president and CEO of Kutas Food Group.
When I head about what he did I asked if I could go and see for myself this processing plant which is very close to where some friends of mine live whom I was visiting. In the first of two interviews, we tour what he thinks is the world’s biggest oregano processing facility. In the tour he describes the process by which herbs are cleaned and processed ready for use by other businesses, whether in consumer packages or by the food and catering industries – as well as about the adulteration that goes on and how to detect it. You’ll almost certainly not have heard of the company though, as it is a business to business operation that does not sell to the final consumer. As you listen to him showing me round have a look at the pictures in the picture gallery.
After the tour in the relative quiet of an office in a second interview I asked him about how the business started, what it does today, the challenges of avoiding adulteration of products and the various trends he sees emerging.
The company is about to open a new processing plant as he discussed with lots of new technology. There’s a video about them on youtube you can see here which shows off some of the technology they use for bay (laurel) leaves and which will be in the new factory for other herbs.