10 July 2020

How is the fresh flower and plant industry coping with trading conditions?

I have had the privelage of speaking to many of our customers throughout this very difficult trading period and lots of you would like to know about the supply chain, why prices are up and when or if we can expect this to improve, so I am going to take a moment to give an insight into the current situation.

Pricing- supply and demand

As you all know flowers are sold via auction in Holland and so demand dictates the price, for instance one of our lily growers is recieving double the price against the same period last year because demand outstrips supply!

We all saw the heartbreaking images of gorgeous flowers going to the incinerators and we feared it would be the end of the auction but as with all areas of the flower and plant industry everyone dug deap and found a way. However this also resulted in growers taking steps to limit production and in some cases shutting down all together. Lots of growers grow from plugs and so they had to make the descision on how many plugs to buy and given the uncertainty cut their normal production significantly. 

At this time of year we would see around 3500 trolleys of plants per day but at the moment its just over 1000 and demand for plant is strong and will grow now that pubs, restaurants and hotels are re-opening.

Five Chrysanthemums growers closed during lock down and only 3 have so far returned but all in a reduced capacity. There is now only one grower of Euro and prices are therefore very firm. Certain rose growers took the buds off their crop in lock down as it this was a cheaper option that cultivating and disposing of the product. This has now resulted in a reduced amount of flowers and plants going to auction and will continue until such time the crop has recovered and is back to producing a higher output. Growers are working hard to get production levels back to normal but this will take time.

The supply situation is being further exacerbated by the terrible weather in Equador and the unrest in Kenya. While there is a wealth of flowers in Kenya the current civil unrest is making it unsafe for transport companies to operate and flights are very limited so very little is coming through.

While this does sound a little bit doom and gloom, as Europe has re-opened and demand is growing, growers will have more confidence and this should improve in time. I have seen lots of you adapt very well to the situation, florist choice seems to be working very well allowing you to select best value and quality blooms and hold a more select range (for all of us florists this is no surprise, we all know that given a little freedom we can create the best designs), hopefully this will re-educate the public and continue into the future. Lots of you are doing very creative things with house plants and dried flowers. Great to see how resilient the whole trade is, keep up the good work, Tracy