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‘Petaling’ Innovation


Product varieties, production techniques, cold chain management and global supply channels are undergoing unprecedented change. Think I’m talking about produce? Guess again: I’m referring to the highly dynamic global cut-flower industry.

While the challenges are remarkably similar, the floral industry’s needs are unique. If you’re responsible for oversight of both produce and floral, you’re no doubt feeling double the pressure to keep pace with both industries — plus grow sales. If you’re looking for a strategic partner and a global community that focuses on the needs and issues of the floral industry, then you’ll find it with Produce Marketing Association (PMA).

In 2012, the PMA Floral Council, a group of floral industry members, began revitalizing the value PMA offers to the industry as a whole. The idea is that by helping industry members build connections — to experts, ideas, trends and talent — floral members all along the supply chain can better focus on building consumer demand for the products they grow, ship and sell.

Bearing Fruit

One of the first opportunities that came out of this commitment was the Floral Pavilion, which debuted and sold out in its first year at the 2013 Fresh Summit Convention & Expo. This dedicated exhibition space enables floral suppliers to create a solid presence at the event and optimize their ability to network with buyers. Back by popular demand and doubled in size to cover 12,000 square feet, the Floral Pavilion at this year’s Fresh Summit, in Anaheim, Calif., is already nearly sold out.

The same feast for the senses found in the Floral Pavilion is behind what makes floral an important element of the retail store. Consumers feed off the experience of freshness and beauty that floral lends to the entire department. Whether they want to know more about color trends, shopping behavior or digital usage, PMA floral members can avail themselves of a wide range of consumer research information and education that can help them better connect to shoppers.

For instance, the upcoming PMA Fresh Connections: Retail in Philadelphia, set for June 18-19, will be dedicated to understanding digitally savvy consumers who tap into multiple channels that sway their purchasing decisions. The program will feature a consumer panel with an open discussion on floral and retail shopping behavior. Another session will explore “psychographic segmentation,” which looks at personal data such as values, interests and lifestyles, rather than demographics, to uncover consumers’ needs and motivations.

In addition, Progressive Grocer Independent has teamed up with the Center for Advancing Retail and Technology (CART) and the National Grocers Association (NGA) to launch the “Technology and the Independent Grocer” research study. The second part of this study, which focuses on digital services, will publish in early June, right before Fresh Connections: Retail. Some of the new findings will be part of the discussion on consumer online shopping behaviors — why they choose to point, click and buy, and why they don’t. Are consumers less likely to buy flowers online because they can’t smell them? I encourage floral buyers to be in the room to contribute their important perspectives to the conversation.

Getting to the Root of Floral Concerns

Of course, the supply side is a whole other conversation, and where your next supplier may be located is a global question. PMA floral resources, such as Floral Production Reports, are a good place to look for answers. Culled from global research firm Euromonitor International and analyzed by PMA’s research and development team, the insights provide a bird’s-eye view of global floral production through country-specific production reports on key and developing players in the cut-flower market, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Columbia, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Malaysia and China. The body of research is an outstanding resource for gaining a new understanding of the shift in cut-floral production around the world, and understanding the drivers for this shift over the past 40 years — savings through lower labor and production costs, favorable climates, and the support or lack of government policies.

With global business complexities like these, not to mention the benefit of having people well versed in floriculture on your team, PMA is also a place to go for support with industry talent, through the PMA Foundation.

The foundation offers individuals and companies across the produce and floral supply chain a menu of educational programs and networking events supporting every stage of a person’s career and fostering industry innovation.

A Flourishing Future

Floral leadership at PMA has a plan for the future that industry members only stand to profit from. We’re studying options for providing value to floral members that take advantage of PMA’s strengths in produce and bring them to floral, and we’re listening to the needs and concerns of floral industry members like you. Expect to find floral content increasingly integrated into PMA events and research, all of which will aim to help you improve your business. 

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