Since 2017, DeRuiter Innovations, a Dutch rose breeder with offices in Ecuador and Colombia, has been investing in fact-finding missions to the USA to learn more about the American market as well as to see the current supply chain. They are seeking additional knowledge about which rose varieties are most popular with different marketing channels like supermarkets and flower wholesalers. The visits were also focused on presenting currently sold varieties as well as new varieties to potential buyers so that everyone has a greater understanding of what is available in the market today.
During June of 2019, Marcelo Vallejo (Ecuador General Manager), Juan Pablo Rengifo (Ecuador Commercial Manager), and Laura Fajardo (Colombia General Manager) came to the US to visit some customers as well as attend the IFE Miami Show. They visited several floral vendors including Royal Flowers, 4 Seasons Growers, JetFresh, and Sunshine Bouquet. They are also providing a “Where to buy list” of farms in Ecuador who are legally authorized to grow and sell varieties created and introduced by DeRuiter.
After their visits, they concluded that supermarkets mainly source their roses from Colombian growers and floral wholesalers, while event planners and florists mainly source Ecuadorian roses. While prices have not changed much in recent years, they learned supermarkets are very price driven and are trying to get lower prices every year. Supermarkets don’t seem to be concerned about the name of the variety, they just want colors that are solid and vibrant at the best possible price. They also request a bud size of 5.5cm to 6.5cm and they want the highest stem count possible per box to compensate for the high cost of freight. Wholesalers, event planners, and florists on the other hand, still desire certain specific varieties for their clients who are more selective and open to novelty varieties than the supermarket chains.
While in the USA, they also took the time to visit several supermarkets to view the floral display areas and were happy to find the coolers and display areas in better shape than in previous years. They still encountered several issues like lack of proper water in displays and damage to rose heads. Most supermarkets only offered a very limited selection of traditionally shaped, solid-colored roses and simple bouquets; nothing special or exciting. It is important to mention the markets they visited were all in Miami, with so many sources for flowers in the city, it is not the best place to try to sell as the market is very saturated. Perhaps other cities would have nicer offerings in supermarket displays. Everyone they talked to agreed that demand for flowers is growing worldwide, but the supply seems to be growing even faster than demand, so the market has become highly competitive.
The market is changing, while demand for more traditional rose varieties seems to have generally stagnated, there is a growing demand for Orange and Yellow colored traditional varieties. There is also a growing demand for Garden roses and Hybrid Tea roses with a garden look. The premade bouquet market is growing with more flowers than ever being sold in supermarkets. The growing trend in supermarket flowers and their desire for the cheapest possible product is changing the way roses are shipped. Traditionally all roses were always shipped by air, while today more and more roses are being transported by sea to reduce the high cost of airfreight – especially during the big flower holidays.
Businesses that offer specialty and high-end services are not solely driven by price. They are seeking roses that really make an impact and show something new to truly WOW their clients. Rose performance is a driving factor in the market, with designers seeking blooms that open beautifully and perform well incorporated into a bouquet or arrangement. Florists are very concerned about vase life, while event designers care more about the overall appearance. Introducing a new variety can be a challenge as it must really show something special and unique to convince buyers to change from their tried and true rose varieties.
DeRuiter remains committed to investing time, energy, and funds into traveling to different markets to present new varieties and learn about the ever-changing global market.