FOR YOUR HEALTH
BY STEPHANIE E. PONDER
ON THE northwest border of Switzerland
lies the small town of Laufen, where one
company has ;rm roots in the past while
keeping an eye on innovation.
Ricola, the maker of cough and throat
drops, got its start in the ;;;;s when master baker Emil Richterich created the
herbal mixture still used today to make the
Original Natural Herb Cough Drops. The
instantly recognizable drops became so
popular that Emil and his wife shut down
their bakery a decade later to set up full-time throat drop production. The name
Ricola comes from shortening Richterich
& Compagnie Laufen.
In the past ;;-plus years, Ricola has
grown into a global brand. “We have devel-
oped a lot of new products, new ;avours,
new textures and new packaging con-
cepts,” says CEO Felix Richterich, the
third generation to lead the family-owned
company. “Our original herb cough drop is
still our No. ; product worldwide. That’s
our ;agship and will remain our ;agship.”
As with many companies, sustainabil-
ity is a priority for Ricola. “It’s important
that you not only claim it, but you also live
it and try to get better,” says Richterich
from his office in Laufen. “We all know
that there’s room for improvement. We try
to set goals and to become, every year, a lit-
tle bit better.”
To help reach its goals, Ricola has
invested in energy-saving standards and
technology, only uses herbs from organic
farms—acreage equal to approximately
;;; hockey rinks—and sources ;; per cent
of its raw materials from within ;;; kilo-
metres of Laufen.
Another priority is quality control.
Ricola’s products have to meet Swissmedic
(the Swiss regulatory authority for medicine) requirements along with Health
Canada and international food standards
for all of the countries where its products
The process begins with various
checks of the raw materials, followed by
additional random checks throughout
production. The finished products are
controlled for active-ingredient standard-
ization and packaging.
Richterich adds, “The taste is very
Drops of relief
important, so we taste the products in our
laboratory, and we have a group of employ-
ees from di;erent departments … tasting
existing products and new product ideas.
They are trained to describe what they
taste: Is it bitter, is it salty, is it sweet, is
All of that hard work—from harvest-
ing herbs to the ;nal product—is a point of
pride for Richterich. “What people don’t
realize is what care we take for our herbs,”
he says. “Most people think it’s just a ;a-
vour or something, but we really cultivate
the herbs in the Swiss mountains, with a
lot of care, with our producers who are
independent farmers.” C
Ricola’s rich herbal history
CEO: Felix Richterich
EMPLOYEES: More than 400 worldwide
HEADQUARTERS: Laufen, Switzerland
PRODUCTS AT COSTCO: Mountain Herb
No–Sugar Added Cough Drops
COMMENT ABOUT COSTCO: “Costco is
a great fit with the Ricola brand. We are
proud of our partnership with Costco,
and we will continue to push each other
to provide the member with the best
product experience combined with the
best value.”—Warren Crowder, president
and country manager, Ricola Canada Harvesting the herbs.
WHILE THE recipe for Ricola’s Original
Natural Herb Throat Drops is a secret,
here’s a look at how some of the herbs
have been used throughout history.
Horehound was often placed inside
medicine chests of pharaohs or used
as a poison cure in Roman times.
Greeks used hyssop to fight off throat,
chest and other bronchial complaints.
In ancient times, peppermint was used
for its calming and cooling effects.
In many cultures, sage is revered for its
soothing qualities and is often
brewed into calming cups of tea.
Courtesy of Ricola