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Dutch growers explore Spanish market

Spain: Flower consumption focused on 'giving moments'

Dutch flowers and plants are popular with the Spanish, Matthijs van Bonzel, the Dutch ambassador in Madrid, notices. He recently received a delegation of growers from the Netherlands, led by Lucas Jansen (Flower Academy) and including Marco van de Koppel (Horti Experience), to explore the market.

The group of nine further included Charles Lansdorp, one of the driving forces behind introducing the Italian grandparents' day in the Netherlands, representatives of Ter Laak/Decorum, tree nursery Son & Koot, Akerboom Freesia, De Haas Calla and Hoogeveen Plants. These growers are members of PYNG, Producers Young Network Group: ornamental industry entrepreneurs who go on an excursion five or six times a year to shine their light in the sector - and in other industries. Once a year, a market visit takes them abroad: Munich last year, this year Madrid. (photos: Marco van de Koppel)

All Saints' Day
Spain still has high youth unemployment, and the recent economic crisis took its toll, more so than in the Netherlands. Still, the upward trend has returned, and the ambassador sees an increase in consumption. "Historically, the consumption pattern is focused on giving moments, like All Saints' Day", Marco says. "The industry used to get 30% of its revenue out of that one day." It's a little less now, but the Spanish don't have a tradition of regularly going to the supermarket or florist for a bouquet. "We spoke to a florist who sells most of his products by telephone. That's where he gets his revenue, not from customers who just happen to drop by."

Some of the outdoor plants are grown in Spain. The climate is just a bit different than in the Netherlands, a lot can be grown outside, and for a longer period of time. "You can see Christmas trees growing next to geraniums," Marco says. "But cut flowers and indoor plants mostly come from the Netherlands. Something we noticed in the assortment at Cash & Carries, garden centers and florists was a large amount of cyclamen and garden roses, 'grow it your own' herbs, and lots of cacti and bonsai. Also a lot of large-headed roses, all from Ecuador. We were disappointed by the amount of freesias and callas on sale though."

A final concern is that the flower and plant properties given to a product by the grower at the beginning of the chain, partly disappear further in the chain. "It's not entirely clear why, but it's worrying that a product from a grower, who does his best to produce flowers and plants of the highest quality, is 'beaten down' and disappears in the crowd at the end of the chain. We're all working on digitization, but apparently it means not all information is carried through from A to Z. We saw it in Munich, and now again here."

Marco, who has an extensive background in ornamental horticulture and helps parties from the sector to stand out online and offline with Horti Experience, is very pleased with the journey. "It's an ideal concept to talk to one's colleagues, study the market, as well as learn from each other and discuss current challenges and developments."

For more photos of the trip, check Marco van de Koppel's Facebook page

For more information:
Horti Experience
Marco van den Koppel
De Houtlandessloot 2
1713 BC Obdam Holland
M: +31(0)6-15 85 58 11
E: i[email protected]
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