Almost all Women’s Day flowers left the greenhouse, but for Dutch chrysanthemum brand and cooperation Zentoo, there is little time to breath as UK Mother’s Day – which falls early this year - is around the corner. On Monday, the first shipments will leave the farm and also for this holiday, the demand is high. “Over the last years, and particularly this year, we see an increasing demand for Dutch chrysanthemums. Also on the clock, prices have been high,” says Zentoo’s Danny van Uffelen. Zentoo is a cooperation, consisting of 14 Dutch growers, growing chrysanthemums on 100 ha. In order to meet the increasing demand, Zentoo will expand with 10 ha, bringing the total acreage to 110 ha by the end of the year. In this article, Van Uffelen tells us more about the run-up to these two holidays.
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (March 8) is an important floral holiday in Russia as it is widely celebrated with flowers. As Russia is Zentoo’s main market, this holiday is one of their main holidays as well. But how was this year? Van Uffelen explains: “The majority of the flowers to Russia have been shipped out, and we are very pleased with this year’s demand. Despite the pandemic, Russians continue buying flowers.” And the demand for the Dutch chrysanthemums seems to be high. “For several years now, we see the demand for the stable quality chrysanthemums from the Netherlands increasing. However, particularly this year with the challenges in air and container shipments from several countries abroad, demand has been even higher and it was clearly visible on the clock. From Valentine’s Day till last Tuesday, prices were at Valentine’s level and above, which is extremely high. Another reason for the high prices was the constant demand; more separate orders instead of single large bulk orders. In turn, better quality flowers are on the market.”
This year, the Russian wholesalers were worried if their shipments would arrive on time or would arrive at all. Van Uffelen heard about these worries, but so far hasn’t heard their exporters about any setback in transportation. However, he will know for sure after this week. “Last weekend, the final shipments to Russia left our greenhouse. I know they’ve changed their routes, but it will take about 3-5 days to ship them to Russia, so after this weekend, we will know for sure.”
Now, the last Women’s Day flowers will go to Poland and Ukraine. “On Monday, we will send out the last Women’s Day flowers to these countries.” Over the years, he has seen the demand for flowers in these surrounding countries rising. “For us, this is a very positive development as it is prolonging the peak, instead of increasing.”
UK Mother’s Day
There is however no time to breath as UK Mother’s Day is around the corner. “This year, it falls early (March 14) and we therefore need to follow our strict schedule.” Fortunately, the demand is very pleasing. “Many orders already have been placed 6-9 months ago, but we still expect many ‘last-minute’ orders. Then, the prices will be good as well.”
Instead of the Russian wholesalers – who order a broad assortment – the British retailers buy fewer varieties, but very large orders. “That’s the power of the chrysanthemum. They have a 10 week cultivation cycle which enables us to quickly adapt to their requirements.” Pink and purple are popular colors for UK Mother’s Day, but this year, we noticed a striking demand for pastel colors.
More diversity from one location
According to Van Uffelen, the market is demanding for more diversity from one single supplier. “In Russia, for example, we see an increasing demand for santini and disbud chrysanthemums and most of them want to receive them from one supplier.” For this reason, Zentoo is increasing their cultivation acreage. “Currently, we are able to supply a complete assortment of spray chrysanthemums, but with the expansion we will also be able to offer a complete assortment of disbud and santini varieties.” With the expansion of 10ha, they are planning to reach a cultivation acreage of 110 ha by the end of the year.
‘Packed at the farm’
Another development Van Uffelen is noticing is the demand for flowers that are packed at the farm. “Usually, the exporter packs our flowers, but since we started to offer pre-packed export boxes, the interest in this option started to grow. It gives a more 'fresh from the farm' experience."