As the annual floral events continue, I was invited to attend the latest event presented by the International Fresh produce Association (formerly PMA /United Fresh).
This event is huge due to the presence of the produce segment. The floral section, while more beautiful, pales in comparison to the bananas, blueberries, avocados, potato’s and every other type of produce that you might find at your grocery store, is represented. This is comparable to the FlorHolland Event to be held next week where in addition to floral, you have machinery of all types of machinery needed to label, bind, sort, package, and squeeze products.
Make no mistake this show is all about Supermarket sales and is the largest and best show of its kind. All of the big and small bouquet companies were were in full bloom. Unlike many of the events that I cover that are Grower /Importer/Wholesale centric, this event caters exclusively to the mass markets.
Many of the companies that exhibit here are also selling to wholesalers and most have a specific brand to appeal to this market.
To say that everyone brought their A game is an understatement. The booths of the big bouquet makers, Queens, Sunshine Bouquet, Elite, Passion, Gems, Colour Republic were grand and grander and no doubt cost a fortune. Mixed in between them are the hopeful companies looking to find one or two customers that could change their business outlook.
The supermarket business is unique in that there are only a few big companies and when their buyers are coming down the isle, the all hands on deck alert, is sounded. Getting buyers to stop at your booth is the goal and if there is already a relationship then they will stop, if not then vendors need to start their sales pitch as they cruse by. There is also lots of wining and dining after the show floor closes for the day, as it should be.
It was obvious to many that several Ecuadorean growers were in exhibiting hoping to find new markets to replace their former Russian clients.
I discovered that Crayola (the colorful crayon company) has jumped into the floral business. While I have been secretly aware of this for about 12 months, they have finally decided to get out and see what a colorful company can do with our colorful business. I will have more to write about this as they progress.
Another thing that caught my attention was Hallmark. This huge greeting card company has tried floral at least twice over the last 10 years with very poor results. So I was surprised they are trying again but good luck to them.
There is still a lot of discussion about the situation in Europe specifically in the Netherlands due to the high natural gas prices needed by growers to heat their greenhouses. I have heard many different versions of what is happening. The gas prices have fallen due to the fact the the weather in Europe has been unseasonably warm which has reduced the demand for gas. At the same time I hear that many growers have already decided not plant for this season. I am heading over to Holland next week to learn more and I will be sure to report back.
There was a great deal of discussion about the new government in Colombia. I think it is safe to say that the growers are very nervous about the next four years. Time will tell.
Rising cost and logistics remain a big worry for the industry as everything is becoming more expensive. Someone said that “everything is going up except the price of flowers”
Becky Roberts the Floral Director of IFPA who has been a driving force behind the growth of this business segment has decided to move on after many years. She was honored for her service but insist that she will not leave until a proper preplacement has been selected and seated. Why to go Becky and you can here my interview with her on my flowersandcents youtube channel.
Finally the Marketer of the year award was presented to Lane DeVries owner of Sun Valley Floral. This is a well deserved award as Lane’s passion about the industry is a contagious and a force to be reckoned with. If you are not aware of Woman’s Day on March 8 then you need to get a sticker from him.
As always, for those that enjoy my reviews I am truly humbled and thank you for your support.