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Søren Schroll of Schroll Flowers:
EU: 'Supplying retailers has become more demanding'Supplying retailers has become more demanding over the last years. They are becoming bigger and have more requirements. According to Danish hydrangea breeder and grower Søren Schroll of Schroll Flowers they want more colors, in larger quantities and above all in a high quality. "It is a challenge for many smaller growers to comply with all these requirements", he says.
Carsten and Søren Schroll.
"Historically speaking, retailers only asked for pink, white and blue hydrangeas. Now, however, they want to offer their customers a wider assortment with more and unique colors that will change during the season", explains Schroll. So, in order to offer their retailers etc. a broad and unique range of colors, Schroll Flowers decided to create an assortment with their own bred varieties. In 2007, they started their own breeding program and in 2013 they brought their first new varieties to the market. "Currently we have an assortment of 21 varieties for season 2018 that are being supplied to our customers and exclusive partners in the hydrangea market. In this assortment the top-seller is still Deep Purple that now has a collection of 5 awards – latest 2 awards from Japan in 2016" he says.
The retailers are also asking for higher quantities. "We supply the North and Central European market and we notice that the big retailers are becoming bigger and therefore are asking for larger quantities", says Schroll. So, in order to supply these large quantities in the desired colors, Schroll Flowers has been expanding and grows hydrangeas not only in Denmark, but in Portugal too. "The majority of the dormant plant production takes place on 30ha in Portugal. Then, in Denmark (15ha) the hydrangeas are grown to a finished product. Schroll Flowers adapt their production to the requests of their customers. "In this way, we try to supply every customer with the desired sizes, quantities and colors. Production of Hydrangeas is a very long process, but with good planning we now have facilities so we are capable of supplying the biggest chains in EU"
On top of quantity, quality is an important requirement too. "It can be a challenge to supply large quantities of good quality", says Schroll. According to him, the dormant plant production in Portugal has improved the quality of their products. "The weather in Portugal is better than in Denmark which enables us to grow a better quality crop with more flowers."
For many hydrangea growers, but also growers of other crops, the fact that retailers are becoming bigger and more powerful makes operating in the industry challenging. "We see that the market is now split between the large growers who are supplying big retailers and the smaller growers who are supplying the specialized floral shops and more local markets. And for both types of growers, staying competitive in the market is a major challenge."
Start of autumn season
The summer season is nearing its end and Schroll Flowers is currently busy with preparing the orders for the next season as well as the autumn season. "Our normal season ends soon, by the end of September, and in one week we start our Vintage season where we have a nice assortment of the typical autumn colored hydrangeas which are for sale in September and October"
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