"The only thing that is constant in the flower industry is change, so you better change and reinvent and try new things." With this in mind, Ecuadorian rose farm Dream Farms introduced their "Scentsation Rose Bouquets". These are environmentally friendly bouquets that can include scent. "Our goal is to make the final consumer experience an incredible week of emotions with our flowers," says Juan Carlos Ponce, General Manager at the farm.
How did it all start?
Together with his wife Adriana Espinosa and his brothers in law, Ponce established Dreams Farms in 2010. In the city of Tabacundo, they produce more than 40 varieties of roses on 7.5 ha at an altitude of 2,840 meters above sea level. Since the very beginning, the company is committed to taking care of the environment, their workers, and their community. "As soon as we got our Rainforest Alliance Certification, we decided to explore more in what we can do regarding offering more environmentally friendly products. So, about a year ago, we started to look into alternative and innovative options of manufacturing and packaging, and we came up with this new idea of bouquets."
Scentsation Rose Bouquets
All bouquets in this new line consist of roses and tropical fillers. It is a different look, a different approach, a fresh idea. According to Ponce, this concept enables them to make unique bouquets. "Our customers can choose the color of the rose. We use sustainable flowers and incorporate exotic foliage and scent to our bouquets, making them unique and different on every order."
However, not every type of tropical foliage works. "A lot of tests have been done to find out which tropical fillers will resist the cold chain the rose bouquets need. Not all tropical foliage can handle the cold chain as some get burned."
Creating a scented bunch was another challenge. "We trialed with fragrant roses first, but as they usually have a shorter vase life, we decided to look for another solution. Now we use a scented natural oil that does not affect the vase life. We spray it on the bunch.
These bouquets include a decorative jute sleeve, a biodegradable vegetable-based clear sleeve, and flower food. "The nice thing about the jute sleeve is that it gives the bouquet an eco-friendly look. Also, the end-consumer can use it as part of the decoration folding it down to cover the vase with it."
Eco-friendly move in the US
The US is Dream Farms' primary market, which they supply for several years now. But how is the demand for more environmentally friendly alternatives in this country? "The demand for these alternatives is not as strong as in Europe. I think there are more and more people and supermarket chains in the US, like Whole Foods, Albertsons, Safeway, and so on, that are getting into it. Last October, at the PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim (CA), in which we participated for the first time, we got positive responses. Even though it is not so popular right now, customers see a lot of future for it. In turn, this has opened doors for us."
Currently, the "Scentsation Rose Bouquets" are being shipped to the US only; however, Ponce sees opportunities to get a foothold in the EU market with these bouquets as well. "For the IFTF show in Vijfhuizen, we supplied a Dutch import company with these bouquets, and they received quite some positive reactions."