The Board of Management of Fair Flowers Fair Plants has decided to withdraw the label from the market after 2017 and to wind up the foundation at the end of this year. FFP hasn’t been able to develop enough during the past couple of years and hasn’t managed to overcome the problem of a small assortment and a limited demand. “A sustainable consumer label, specifically for floricultural products, isn’t going to happen for a while. Creating a sector-wide consumer label is not an easy task”, says chairman Coen Borren.
Are you disappointed?
“Of course I’m disappointed. I would have preferred a different future for FFP. But we haven’t managed to get the label where we wanted it to be, in ten years time. It turned out that the market simply wasn’t big enough, both with regards to demand and supply. It felt like a marketplace where you could get chairs, but no tables.”
What was the main obstacle?
“The general opinion is that the label doesn’t have enough visibility; it’s lost between the large number of other flower brands and marks. Florists and organisations would have been interested in promoting the label more, if the assortment had been larger. At the same time, many growers are disappointed about the lack of demand from the market.”
Is anyone in particular to blame?
“I’ve thought a lot about this. Outsourcing marketing and communication at the end of 2012 was a good choice. In hindsight, MPS wasn’t the right organisation though. They admitted this too. MPS has a good network when it comes to growers, but not really when it comes to distribution channels. And it was especially in that area, that of the retail sector, that communication should have been more forceful. So I do blame ourselves for not finding an organisation that was better equipped for promotional activities among florists.”
By the end of last February, the ambitions had changed, hadn’t they?
“When MPS pulled out, we announced that the label would continue to exist at least for the rest of this year, and that it was our ambition to carry on. But after speaking with florists and growers, the Board of Management changed their mind. We decided to make arrangements for the proper dissolution of the foundation rather than wait until we’d have to abruptly cease all activities. We’ll continue to fulfil our obligations in 2017, without charging any fees.”
So, that’s it?
“The FFP brand and logo will be maintained. If there’s anyone who would like to revive the label, and they support the original philosophy, we’d be delighted.”
Has it all been a waste of time?
“I don’t think so. FFP has achieved a great deal. It’s partly due to FFP that specific certification schemes were developed or adjusted and that the inspection of social and environmental conditions has become stricter. And FFP played an important role in the establishment of the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative.”
If FFP isn’t going to be the consumer label for floricultural products, what will be?
“That’s tricky. Creating a sustainable consumer label, specifically for a certain sector, isn’t easy. But florists do feel a need for it. They’ll probably have to rely on business-to-business sustainability certificates. There’s still a lot of work left for the coming years.”