Supplying thousands and thousands of commercially rare plants. That is the challenge that one of North America’s largest growers of ornamental plants Costa Farms accepted when introducing their new and first concept Trending Tropicals® Collection. They officially launched it in November 2019 and shipped the first plants to the retailers in January. All plants in the concept - 5 at the moment - are thoroughly tested to meet the Costa Farm's requirement; make it easier for the end consumer to be more successful. And the concept seems to have a foothold, not only all over the US but also in the Canadian market.
"With this concept,we make plants that are usually quite commercially rare and therefore often very high priced, available to everyone", says Mike Rimland, Vice President of Research and Development and Company Global Ambassador at Costa Farms.
Picture: Mike Rimland
With business activities stretching over nearly 5,200 acres (over 2,100 ha) in Florida, the Carolinas, and the Dominican Republic, Costa Farms is one of the largest growers of ornamental plants in North America and maybe even in the world. They are in the business for over 60 years and houseplants are the backbone of the company. However, it is the first time they are introducing a concept like this.
Easier for the consumer to be successful
Before the product ends up on the shelves of a retailer it goes through extensive testing. "We can have a good-looking plant, but if the ability to survive indoors is not better, we won't introduce it. As all our plants, which are over 1,300 items, each one of it, need to make it easier for the end consumer to be successful." To ensure the consumer has good experience with their houseplants, they grow their plants in low light conditions, so they are acclimated to the average household environment before shipping them to the stores.
The concept seems to take a foothold in the market. "It sells out as fast as we can produce", says Rimland. "We've seen so many videos online of people driving for hours in order to get it at their local retailer", adds Melissa Martinez Digital & PR Manager at Costa Farms. Currently, the concept is available all-over continental US and Canada. "We are trying to introduce it at as many retailers as we can."
The demand is increasing and keeping up with it is a challenge. "Supplying a commercially rare product in large quantities - we're talking about thousands and thousands of plants - is a challenge. Often there are only a few rare plants available, which are therefore extremely expensive, around 300-600 dollars, and therefore usually for collectors only. We try to make them available to the general public for an affordable price."
Adding new varieties
Currently, the assortment of Trending Tropicals consists of 5 varieties, but throughout the year, they will add new varieties to the assortment. "We source all over the world and work with many different breeders in order to expand the assortment." At the TPIE last January, they've already shown some of their upcoming varieties. "We are continuously looking for new and rare items that suit the concept."
The concept goes with all POS material for the retailer. "If our retailers and consumers are successful, we are. For this reason, we've put a creative team on the development of all displays and material that goes with the concept."
When reviewing the latest reactions of the consumers, Rimland and Martinez see a bright future for this concept. “We’re excited about the opportunity to bring quickly to market our R&D pipeline that consumers are excited about through this collection in the next few years. All we can say is stay tuned!”