PMA 2018 Orlando review

What do you get when you mix a large produce show with a show full of beautiful floral displays? A beautiful show that you can eat your way around.

Wow, this years PMA show was quite a calorie burner and gainer. You can eat healthy food while walking around sampling more. When you have had your fill you can peruse the Floral hall full of bouquets of every style and color.

I had not been to a PMA show in a few years but since it was driving distance from Miami, myself and many others fled the fun Wffsa show in Miami and headed to Orlando where everything seems bigger than life. To start with the Orange county convention center is simply HUGE and having comfortable walking shoes is a good tip for an event of this size. Look at the crowd waiting for the doors to open

PMA (Produce Marketing Association) holds an annual event around the US where Countries, farmers, manufacturers and vendors, large and small come together to show off their offerings. The Floral division of PMA has long courted the floral industry to be a part of these events since many of the right buyers are already in attendance.

Unlike many of the grower shows I attend this show is put on specifically for the benefit of the Supermarket vendors and buyers who come together in what someone called the “Superbowl of supermarket floral”. As a result the displays were grand and large logos hung from the ceilings like beacons screaming out to the buyers. “Hello, we are over here!

This need to get the buyers into your booth is fun to watch in action. The most coveted buyers from the large chains like Walmart, HEB, Publix, etc tend to travel with entourages that follow them around and vendors are keen to where these buyers are in the building. As a member of the press I have learned when it is my time to move on and let business happen.

While there are many companies selling both wholesale and supermarkets there are others that devote all their resources to the mass market. This business of cash carry items has grown and the bouquet makers of the world have grown with them. The big suppliers like Queens, Elite, Passion, Gems and Sunshine and others have been quietly growing up and down the distribution chain.

This is a personal business and the power possessed in these relationships is the strongest brand a company can possess. That is why you can have small vendors successfully competing on this large stage alongside the giants in the industry. The bouquet business is not for everyone since the margins are low and volumes high. Vendors are required to quote prices 6-12 months in advance of a delivery date and with the ever changing airfreight rates this makes pricing very challenging. As well any weather issues that might delay a crop can cause vendors to scramble for product at market prices.

As a result many for the large bouquet makers are beginning to explore the sea freight option to better manage the supply chain uncertainties.

I have been very interested in watching who shows up with their children, not as a tag along but, as successors to the businesses. This is what the industry needs to keep going and I have been pleased to see many such generational’s at the last two shows so, welcome to the business, from me!

PMA sponsors the Floral Marketer of the year award and this years winner was Carlos Oramas of Gems Global based in Miami presented by Juan Carlos Hannaford President, The Elite Flower. Carlos indeed deserved this award since Gems has become a big player in the bouquet arena in a short amount of time and Marketing played a big part. Congratulation.

What’s new, everyone asks so, I saw some really fun dianthus in many shapes and colors. Temkin was showing a new sleeve that proclaims to cool 25-35% faster with 50-70% better airflow.

Finally, I am humbled by all of the attention that received from so many of you. Thank you for reading and please enjoy the video review I have created from this cool show. Now off to Amsterdam for the IFTF and FloraHolland shows, hope to see you there.

Williee Armellini



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