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Ricola herb drop

Ricola herb drop (img: Ricola)


How market leader Ricola innovates tradition in the Basel area

Ricola herb drops are classics. The square candy from Basel, Switzerland is the brainchild of the baker Emil Richterich. In 1930, he founded his company, ten years later he shortened the name “Richterich & Co. Laufen” to “Ricola” and experimented with different herbs to create the iconic drop that to this day is the backbone of the company. With the descendants of Emil Richterich taking operational and strategic roles in the organization, Ricola is still owned and run by the founder’s family in the small town of Laufen in the Basel region. To this day, 7 billion herb drops per year are produced only in Laufen.

Continuity and renewal

Continuity is one part of Ricola, the other is constant renewal. While the throat-softening 13-herb blend of the original Swiss herb drop has remained through time, the company itself is continuously evolving. Today, Ricola produces more than 60 herb products, ranging from lemon balm drops to herbal tea specialties. 500 employees – 430 of them in Switzerland – work for Ricola. The infrastructure has kept up with the growing success: In close collaboration with the world-famous architects Herzog & de Meuron (who designed the Tate Modern in London, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg or the Bird’s Nest in Beijing) Ricola built a state-of-the-art industrial complex in Laufen/Basel. Here, all herbs are processed under one roof to minimize transportation.
The processing takes place in fully automated production facilities. Sensors in the warehouse constantly supervise the temperature in the building and provide weather data. Smart manufacturing thus ensures that the Swiss products meet not only the company’s strict standards of quality but also the high standards of the Food & Drug Administration of the United States of America. In 2016, Ricola founded the Ricolab that functions as an own entity. The innovation lab has made herbs and technology one of their focus areas. The Ricolab develops and tests new businesses with a long-term perspective cultivating well-being for people, communities and nature.

Swiss DNA

To Ricola, the Swiss business location is part of their DNA: The herbs are grown in different parts of Switzerland, depending on the suitability of the soil and the respective herb. While peppermint grows on the southern border of the Jura mountains, sage and thyme prefer the warm and dry climate in the southern alps. Public Ricola herb gardens along popular hiking trails highlight the natural foundation of the company’s success.

The production facilities in Laufen are not only Ricola’s original home, but also offer excellent opportunities. The company is easily accessible via train, car and lorry. Close to the business location Basel, that is home to international corporations and family-run companies alike, Ricola attracts qualified talents that want to be part of a company with a strong tradition and sense of belonging. Further, the proximity to the tri-border region with France and Germany is crucial for Ricola which exports more than 90 percent of its products to over 50 countries worldwide.

Tightly bound to its origins, Ricola never loses sight of its future.

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