Rose Hips Marketing
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Madeline Schreiber
Posted on: July 21, 1998

This is my first year in production and my first product is fresh, wild, pure rose hips. These are growing in great abundance on my land this year, and I want to try to take advantage of getting a head start and some encouragement in this business without a big capital investment.

Do you know how I can market these?

Because of the tremendous volumes of Rose Hips used and sold in North America, this question has been frequently asked over the years. Unfortunately, it is still not yet feasible to consider this natural resource. The actual volumes used by most vitamin companies is in excess of 400,000 lbs. per month, mostly being supplied by Peru.

The problem with Rose Hips is that the primary markets want a Rose Hip shell (semi-whole), with the seed and fiber-like material removed. The seed has some markets with cattle, but is rather limited, with the inner fiber being mostly useless. The shell is where all the vitamin C is obtained. To date, this is still done by hand (Peruvian labor), with Rose Hip shells selling for less than $0.60 per pound, landed C/F.

What needs to happen to make this feasible for domestic production is invention of a combine-like machine, somehow removing the whole Rose Hip from the plant, and then having the seed and inner fiber removed during the combine process. The combine would also need a conveyor-like delivery to the hopper for the whole shell, probably something like a New Holland bean harvester.

No one, to date, has built such a device to do this type of job, or even modified an existing device using current technology. This new device would also need to be able to be driven down dried-up riverbanks and other difficult types of terrain where the Rose Hips are mostly found. I don’t expect to see this type of device available for some time, as the markets are limited for its usage, being exclusive to the harvest of Rose Hip shells.

Collection for private usage is quite feasible and fun, with annual needs taking only one day to harvest and shell. The shells then need to be dried to 10% moisture (where they crush easily in the fingers. However, with current labor expectations, commercial productions are not yet feasible in North America.

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