The flower industry works like a simple value chain: growers
grow flowers, suppliers obtain them, then the flowers are sold to retailers or
to wholesalers before consumers buy them in bunches or bouquets. It sounds
really simple, except the people involved come from all over the world. Most of
the produce in the flower industry are grown in Europe, South America, Africa,
and Asia, with Netherlands
as the biggest trade center and Germany
as the primary market for imports.
Exported cut flowers from the Netherlands
are the primary component of the international flower industry and as well as a
significant part of the European trade, which by itself accounts for a big part
of the world trade. In the American continents, Colombia
is the United States
major supplier. Japan gets
its cut flower supply from a more diverse base, with New
Zealand, Europe, The Philippines, and Taiwan being
the most important ones.
has been the hub of the international flower trade since the 1950s. The secret
of their prominent position in the industry is an efficient trade system that
facilitates the shipment of flowers around the world. Flowers are imported from
growers in South America, Australia, Africa, and Asia
and assembled in the Aalsmeer flower auction, the largest marketplace for
buying and selling floricultural produce. This allows the flower industry to
overcome the problem of wholesalers being unable to import directly from
On the supplier side, the flower
industry is dominated by a few major players who are also a cluster of
interrelated companies with their own specialization and export markets. The
Dutch Flower Group is the worlds largest flower supplier with companies located
in Western Europe and Africa. The other major
supplier in the European market is the Zurel Group, with a turnover of more
than $150 million. Both the Dutch Flower Group and the Zurel Group have three
divisions that deal with wholesale, imports, and retail.
The advantages these major groups are pretty clear, because their sub-companies
perform the process of production and distribution all throughout the year.
They also give discounts on flower purchases through marketing strategies like
flower deals, flower coupons, and other customer-centered offers, which save
money for the customer and allow him to buy bigger volumes of flowers.
Besides flowers, the flower companies also exports accessories like foliage
(fillers for the bouquet), flower foam, corsage supplies, artificial foliage,
vases, and ribbons. Other major accessories that are purchased are packaging
equipment for the transfer of fresh, perishable flowers. These include flower mats, flower
foils, and ice packs. One of the biggest suppliers of flower accessories in Europe is a member of the Dutch Flower Group called Cold
and Fresh International.