I was honored to have the opportunity to cover this great Trade fair in Vijfhuizen, Holland. The first thing you have to learn is how to pronounce Vijfhuizen which translates into “five houses”. While I did not see them there was a large building filled with flowers, people and optimism. First and foremost this is a trade fair and not simply a floral exhibition.
There were actually two trade fairs going on simultaneously; the IFTF hosted by HPP and the other by Royal Flora Holland at the Aalsmeer auction house. The IFTF organized specifically for breeders and suppliers and the Flora Holland fair exhibitors are members of the Auction and mostly farmers. Many breeders had stands in both events. These shows are specifically labeled and promoted as trade fairs and not floral exhibitions. The difference is that vendors expect that buyers are coming to place orders, not just to see what the latest offers are. At floral exhibitions vendors and breeders are showing whats new and about to be go into production if the market reaction is positive.
The good folks at HPP put on a great show with lots of exhibitors and a friendly business atmosphere. We understand that attendance at both shows was down a bit over last year due to the dates being to close to All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Both show organizers have now agreed to move the 2017 dates forward one week so that there are no conflicts.
After attending many trade fairs, exhibitions and conferences this year I think it is fair to say that these events must be meeting the needs of buyers and sellers alike. Since so many companies are willing and able to spend the time and money to participate one can only draw the conclusion that these events are worth it.
I can say this with confidence since I speak with a lot of people and most say that the show was good for them and that they will be back next year. Many companies exhibit at multiple shows starting in South America then on to the US for SAF, Miami for Wffsa, PMA, IFE, Holland and beyond to Russia, Japan and China if they dare. I solute those,”Event Troopers” that travel from show to show, time zone to time zone and continent to continent setting up and breaking down only to do it again a few weeks later.
In keeping with the most asked question, what did I see new? I offer this beautiful Valse (Walse) rose presented by Meilland. I don’t often see roses that stand out but for me this one did with its soft pink edges and white blended petals. Should be a great wedding rose.
The IFTF is really a breeders showcase and there were lots of new whites, reds, pinks and purples to attract buyers and so breeders are hard at work looking for the next best thing. With that said one cannot miss the looming presence of Dummen Orange. This Venture capitol funded company is buying up every flower breeder that is willing to be taken over. Their latest acquisition was Olij Rosen breeding, adding to the large stable of breeders already under the bright orange banner.
Dummen is not the only company with growing ambitions. The Dutch Flower Group has also been gathering up smaller companies and is now, by far, the dominate player in the Dutch fresh cut floral market.
I predict that we will continue to see the consolidation of companies across the floral industry as more companies fall victim to a lack of succession and or failure to adapt to a changing market, and are therefore ripe for takeover. Kennicott and The Delaware Valley Floral Group are two companies that are taking advantage of these opportunities right here in America.
There was a noticeable presence of Asian buyers walking both shows and according to one vendor they make good customers if you get paid upfront before shipping.
The Flora Holland show is slightly larger than IFTF in cut flowers but if you add in the potted plant exhibits then it is quite a bit larger. I personally prefer the IFTF show as a cut flower guy but the other show is worth the time if you seek more ideas. The exhibitors are forced to be creative when it comes to marketing so there is much to see and learn by walking the isles. There are so many selling what one could argue, are the same items, so differentiating yourself is vital.
The IFTF show is worth the time and effort to get here if you are looking for whats new and who has it. You can see more diverse products from more exotic places than at many other shows. The Royal Flora Holland show is certainly worth a look if you are in town anyway and there you will see more and many of every thing.
There was one particular program that got my attention at the IFTF event. There is an organization called the Missing Chapter Foundation. They held a session where 26 children ages 9-11 from one class were asked many questions about how they see our industry in terms of a future career. This was not about why or how they might buy flowers as future consumers, but specifically about how to get more youth involved in the floral industry. I found this fascinating since we all can see that new blood is needed to keep the industry healthy and progressive. I will learn more about this program and follow up!
Finally I don’t suppose I can ignore the American election that just concluded and wonder about its effect on global trade and many other issues. The news of a Trump victory is either really good news or really bad news depending on your political outlook but America for better or worse has chosen. So now just like the Brit’s dealing with “Brexit”, we now have to deal with “Trumpit” and wonder, whats next?
I am happy to present my video review of the IFTF show. Since I had a lot of images to show, remember that you have a pause button so if you want to stop and appreciate some image just stop. Enjoy!
Thanks for your attention.