Green facade, infusion bar, minty scent and plants in abundance… It’s impossible to go wrong by entering the Herboristerie by Ricola which opens its doors this Wednesday rue de Turenne in Paris. It is the plants that are in the spotlight in this ephemeral place, with all due respect to the well-known candy packets which are grouped (relegated?) In a corner forming a colorful table. Plants… naturally coming from Switzerland. “I brought some myself back by train,” says Alexandre Krouglikoff, Ricola’s marketing director for France & Belgilux.
But why is Ricola playing the herbalism? It’s not as if the Swiss candy brand that sells in more than 50 countries suffers from anonymity in France. “We have 92% of notoriety in France”, recognizes Alexandre Krouglikoff. Result among others of its famous advertisement “Riiicolaaa” or its typically Swiss yodelling … France is also the 3e manufacturer’s market in terms of turnover behind the United States and Germany – and the 2nde for per capita consumption behind Switzerland. Of the 325 million Swiss francs in turnover (around 285 million euros at the current rate) in 2017, France weighs 15%. A key player in the French cash register alongside Tic Tac and other Mentos, Ricola represents “41% of the market share in small pocket confectionery”, specifies its marketing director. “But the French are not necessarily aware of everything the brand represents.”
Family history and secret recipe
Ricola is first and foremost a family story and a secret recipe. This recipe, based on 13 plants including burnet, marshmallow, elderberry, peppermint, sage, primrose or thyme, was developed in 1940 by Emil Richterich, a baker by training but passionate about plants and who took 10 years to achieve this result. Unchanged since, the formula, the secret of which is well kept, constitutes the basis of all the perfumes marketed. A story shared by a storyteller in the ephemeral herbalism of Ricola.