Please introduce yourself: What does your start-up do?
Blütenrein is the first company that exclusively works with basil flowers. Unlike the leaves which fade as they get dry, the blossoms of red African basil maintain their intense aroma.
In addition to growing basil flowers, we are developing new and unique products on their basis. As a first step, we launched a red basil flower syrup which can be used with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as with various dishes. Its fresh and aromatic taste makes the syrup an ideal match for lemonades or gin-based cocktails.
At the moment we are developing a basil flower-based non-alcoholic drink that will hit the market in early 2019. Further on we will work on products for cosmetic or pharmaceutical use. Along with being a business project, Blütenrein contributes to the environmental variety. Our basil flower fields are the habitat of numerous insects, in particular, bees which diligently pollinate our basil flowers.
How did you come up with an idea and concept? What inspired and motivated you to create this product?
One of our founders Paul is an agricultural engineer. During his experiments with different basil variations, Paul noticed, that some sorts produce a lot of flowers. He decided to use their peculiar smell to create a unique product. Having developed the first product ideas, Paul was looking for partners to found a company and grow the business. Together with Uli, Stefan, and Jochen, they founded Blütenrein UG (now Blütenrein GmbH). Five months later the team presented the basil flower syrup.
What is unique about your business idea and operating model?
Unlike the majority of food start-ups, Blütenrein not only develops new F&B products but also cultivates and grows raw materials. As a result, we have full control over all the steps of our supply chain which makes it challenging for competitors to copy our products.
What were the most significant difficulties you had to overcome while building your start-up?
While growing the natural raw materials is our most prominent advantage, the growing seasons inevitably impact our business. We have to precisely plan the amount of basil needed for production, as there will be no chance to get an additional supply. Expansion of cultivation areas requires a lot of planning and negotiation, as well as significant funding, which makes it challenging to scale our business.
Where do you see yourselves and your company in 5 years?
In five years we want to sell our syrup in entire Europe and enter the markets in North America and Asia. As mentioned before, we also want to launch a few new products. Last but not least, we want to acquire cultivation areas not only in Bavaria in Germany but also in southern Europe to produce basil flowers all year round.
What are your expectations from the NX-FOOD programme?
NX-FOOD gives an excellent opportunity to introduce our product and idea to a broader range of B2C and B2B customers, especially to the catering service industry representatives all over Germany and Europe. We want to get our products permanently listed in the METRO assortment.
What are your main milestones and achievements?
2016 Founded the company and launched our basil flower syrup
2017 Sold 7500 bottles to customers all over Germany
2017 Listed at the Kochhaus-Gruppe and Karstadt Lebensmittel Bayern
2018 Blütenrein UG became Blütenrein GmbH
2018 Blütenrein is one of the NX-FOOD programme participants
Paul: Managing Director, Head of Product Development
Uli: Managing Director, Head of Business Development and Sales