‘We need to find more young people’

A few weeks ago, Rabobank visited Royal FloraHolland to present their analysis of the floriculture sector. The analysis clearly indicated how the focus of the sector will be shifting the coming ten years. The consumption value of plants and flowers in Asia will grow by 80% between 2017 and 2027. The anticipated growth in Europe and the USA during that same period is a mere 20%. It is expected that the Asian market will be as big as the current European market by 2027.

According to Rabobank’s analysis, the Dutch share in the global floriculture trade will go down to 35%. Still a very substantial part, but no longer at the level it used to be. And that’s something we must respond to together. The strength of the sector and the role of the auction has always been in the collaboration in the chain and achieving the broadest and deepest possible assortment. Deterioration of the supply is definitely something we must try to avoid.

In that context, business succession is an important theme. The analysis indicated that a large percentage of growers older than 55 doesn’t have a successor in place. That is worrying. Within the cooperative, we all support our Youth Council. But those young council members are of course preparing to take over their own family businesses. That doesn’t help the growers without a successor. We need to find more young people for those companies. Trading companies are facing the same problem. As a result, further consolidation is inevitable.

At Royal FloraHolland, we are currently making great progress with digitalisation. In that regard, we are ahead of the rest of the world. It offers many new opportunities for chain partners interested in developing different (new) business models. If we join forces, chances of success are the highest.

Rabobank also pointed out that online shopping by consumers is still increasing worldwide. For flower sales, the Netherlands might not be representative, as most consumers typically have several florists within walking distance. And yet, the expectation is that even here, the share of online sales will strongly increase. Other opportunities for the sector lie in the field of sustainability and the growing awareness that plants in particular, can contribute to people’s well-being, both at home and in the office.

All in all, there are plenty of reasons for optimism, but we will have to take matters into our own hands. Simply continuing to do things the same way as before, is not an option for anyone in the sector.

Steven van Schilfgaarde,

CEO Royal FloraHolland

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