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Rob van der Helm, Royal Van Zanten, on the FlowerTrials

“Visitors ask one question: What’s new?”

The 20th edition of the FlowerTrials was a great success. Fifty-nine companies participated, and the event attracted thousands of visitors. "Over time, the FlowerTrials have become one of the most important events in floriculture. Twenty years ago, a handful of participants welcomed a mere 100 visitors. This year, thousands of visitors from around the world visited the FlowerTrials to discover novelties and build new relations." says Rob van der Helm, Marketing Manager at Van Zanten Breeding.

Rob van der Helm (right), Marketing Manager Van Zanten Breeding during the FlowerTrials 2024

How it all began
Since the FlowerTrials' early days, Rob has participated, representing several companies. The first editions resulted from a cooperation between Royal Van Zanten, Florema YoungPlants (now Beekenkamp), Danziger, Moerheim (now MNP), and Fides (now Dümmen Orange). Twenty years ago, Rob was one of the organizers of the first ever FlowerTrials. From 2008 until 2015 he was in the FlowerTrials board and helped to establish an official foundation. The foundation inspired the participating companies to engage in joint marketing and a visitor registration system. "From then on, the number of participants started to grow. In 2015, the event had become so popular and successful, that we asked Fleuroselect to organize it", Rob recalls.

Asked about the success factors of the event, Rob says: "The event is exactly at the right time of the year. Week 24 tends to be a relatively quiet week for growers, which allows them to showcase their portfolio. It is a great opportunity to connect with parties that we wouldn't normally get to know. Over the last few years, other events like the Dutch Lily Days, and GreenTech have complemented the FlowerTrials in week 24."

International visitors
The visitors that visit Royal Van Zanten's location come from all around the world. Rob comments: "We welcomed American growers, German, French and English retailers, as well as visitors from Malaysia, China, Japan, Vietnam, and many other countries. In the last two years, the number of visitors that we welcomed at our location has stabilized, but the mix is changing. We welcomed more retailers and end customers this year. Most visitors ask one question: What's new?"

Royal Van Zanten welcomed many visitors during the FlowerTrials.

Attention for sustainability
Visitors to the Royal Van Zanten location are increasingly interested in sustainability. Rob: "Sustainability is a priority for our breeders and product development. It is what the market is increasingly asking for. This year, we introduced more sustainable varieties like our new pot chrysanthemum 'Jelly Fish', and we are shifting to more sustainable packaging and cultivation methods. At the FlowerTrials, we released our second Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) report. The report presents and monitors our sustainability strategy. It is our responsibility to inform the market about our efforts in this field, and we may inspire others to do the same. Attention for sustainability will only increase in the future."

'Jelly Fish' pot chrysanthemums

Preparing for upcoming editions
Rob thinks that the FlowerTrials could become even more relevant with an increased emphasis on important trends and innovation. Rob: "Royal Van Zanten's 'Data Driven Breeding Strategy' results in varieties that meet market demands. Our novelty 'Jelly Fish' is appreciated for its appearance, and because it is an answer to the need for varieties that can be grown more sustainably.

In addition to our novelties, we worked on other projects such as our inspiration platform 'What's B(l)ooming Today'. It shares the stories behind our plants and flowers. Another example is the poster generator that garden centers can use to inform their customers. This type of innovation is less noticeable, as visitors usually focus on the new colors and shapes of our novelties. It would be great if we could make FlowerTrials visitors aware of this type of developments. The information that visitors receive prior to the FlowerTrials might be an instrument for that."

The 'What's B(l)ooming Today' platform

Although the dust has not yet settled on this year's edition, the Royal Van Zanten team is already preparing for next year. Rob: "Next year, we will focus on co-creation. We will shine the spotlights on initiatives that we create in partnership with others. We will also increase our focus on sustainability. We have been working on it for years, and want to make our impact more visible to the public."

For more information:
Royal Van Zanten
Lavendelweg 15
1435 EW Rijsenhout, the Netherlands
Tel. : +31 (0)297 387000