Although the economy is booming, the floricultural industry as a whole isn’t really benefiting. “Consumers aren’t willing to pay a higher price for plants and flowers and this is something that must change”, is what Marco van Zijverden, leader of Dutch Flower Group, said on Tuesday at the International Floriculture Forum (IFF) in Vijfhuizen.
The fact that consumer spending on plants and flowers isn’t increasing, leads to a lot of pressure on the market, according to Van Zijverden. “There’s a lot of competition and consumers can easily compare. That puts the prices under a lot of pressure.” He feels that the different parties in the chain should do more to add value to the plants and flowers.
If they don’t, the market will stay very sensitive to fluctuations in supply and demand, and the battle between competitors will be fought mostly through pricing. “We work with a generic product, it isn’t easy to distinguish flowers of one company from those of another company. If we can change that, we might be able to improve consumer sales.”
Enhancing the data flows in the chain, which can help the response to consumer behaviour, is a potential solution according to Van Zijverden. He also pointed out the growing digitalisation. DFG for example, takes part in Blueroots. “It increases efficiency, reduces costs and provides lots of data.”
Selling under brand names could be another solution. “But how would you develop a flower brand”, wondered Van Zijverden. “The only party that’s managed to do it so far, is the Dutch Bloomon brand.”
Jonathan Ralling, Commercial Director of Flamingo Horticulture, said in Vijfhuizen that plants and flowers are luxury products and that the consumer must be tempted to buy them. “There are certainly opportunities with regards to improving consumer experience.” He also mentioned that at a global level, there are still millions of potential consumers who, with the current chain of structural plant and flower sales, aren’t reached yet.
The International Floriculture Forum is organised by Union Fleurs, the international flower trade association. HPP Exhibitions facilitates and sponsors the Forum and Hortipoint, known for publications such as Vakblad voor de Bloemisterij and Floribusiness, acts as media partner.