US (FL): Mass-market floral supply chain gathers in Miami

Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Connections: Floral Miami on July 13 brought together a who’s who of mass-market floral sellers and buyers to learn about new trends in floral, and to simply celebrate the floral community. More than 200 people gathered at the Hyatt Regency Miami from across the floral and potted plant supply chain – including breeders and growers, importers and exporters, retailers and suppliers.

The daylong event opened with a networking session to engage attendees and get them interacting with each other. The first educational session featured an update on trends that are driving consumer demand for floral by Katie Dubow of Garden Media Group, an industry consultant who influences consumer media coverage. In the second session, an international panel of plant breeders discussed new varieties and products in the pipeline that will spark sales. The day closed with a networking reception. PMA Floral Council Vice Chair Carlos Oramas, CEO of Gems Group, was master of ceremonies.

The previous afternoon, buyers and sellers participated in optional Floral Buyer Roundtables, 10-minute introductory meetings designed to help buyers and sellers make connections and open doors to more in-depth dialogue.

“I loved how engaged attendees were with the 2018 trends,” says global trend spotter from Garden Media Group, Katie Dubow. “They uncovered new ways to use trends to grow their business, create new brand ambassadors and ultimately increase sales. Because in today’s fast-paced world with connected consumers, keeping up with trends keeps your business alive.”

“Spending time together as community is very important to this industry. This event fed both our professions and our passions,” said panel moderator Joe Don Zetzsche, director of floral and BLOOMS for the retailer H-E-B, a PMA board director, and PMA’s 2013 Floral Marketer of the Year.

“The mass-market floral retail industry has a tremendous opportunity to grow our sales to consumers. Events like this give us the business information – and customer connections – we need to do that,” said Oramas.

The Miami event followed PMA’s Fresh Connections: Floral Anaheim on June 8. In-person events such as these are examples of how the PMA Floral Council and PMA floral staff are working to address three key business priorities of the mass-market floral industry: research on consumer and industry trends and their business implications; networking; and professional and leadership development.

The PMA floral community will next gather in New Orleans in October for PMA’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo Oct. 19-21 for floral education, a networking reception where this year’s Floral Marketer of the Year will be named, and the Floral Pavilion destination on the trade show floor. For more information and to register, visit www.freshsummit.com.

PMA also hosts webinars on floral topics throughout the year, and conducts industry research. Last year, PMA and Food Marketing Institute unveiled the first mass-market floral industry benchmarking research in decades. PMA members can also find floral news and information on PMA.com 24/7/365 at www.pma.com/topics/floral. The association’s annual Floral Marketer of the Year award is intended to help promote leadership development within the mass-market floral industry.

University students learn about floral careers
Fresh Connections: Floral Miami also included a program to help university students explore career opportunities in the mass-market floral industry. The students participated in a Career Pathways student-attraction program for the floral industry conducted by Center for Growing Talent by PMA (CGTbyPMA). This year’s 12 participating students hailed from Florida International University, University of Georgia and North Carolina State University.

The floral Career Pathways program is among 11 Career Pathways programs that CGTbyPMA will host this year at industry events around the world, including PMA’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in October. To date, 67 percent of students who participated in a Career Pathways program took a job or internship in industry after they graduated.

“The fresh floral industry is a fascinating, diverse industry, yet few college students know about us, which means they so they don’t think of us as a career choice. Career Pathways is helping us to change that,” said Oramas.

For more information about CGTbyPMA and its Career Pathways programs, visit www.growingtalentbypma.org.

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