If its true that floral follows the produce industry when it comes to consumer trends and demand, its welcome news to hear that the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) survey of more than 1,800 American Culinary Federation chefs in October and November for the seventh annual survey found that “local” produce to be the hot trend in 2013.
Hudson Riehle of the NRA said, “chefs are moving toward local sourcing because it has become top of mind for consumers. Many consumers have higher trust for “community” businesses and restaurants are more respected and trusted if they use local sources for fresh produce and other commodities.”
Now read Riehle’s statement again, but insert “flowers.”
Riehle also had advice for growers. I’ll paraphrase it for applicability for our industry (you can find the original quotes here: http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/foodservice/Chef-survey-says-Local-produce-hot-in-2013-182364851.html):
“For flower farmers who want to maintain and increase their florists sales, they must partner with floral wholesalers to get messages to consumers.
Flower farmers need to work with florists directly to get the story behind the flowers to the consumer,” said Riehle, citing smart marketing, smart phone apps and quick response codes as three methods.
Real-time information about their flowers is of great interest to more and more consumers. Using the supply chain to help differentiate their operations from others is one way florists can tell their stories.”
I see this report from the NRA as just another example of the opportunity before California’s flower farmers.
I know that many of our farms are experiencing the benefits from this trend, but some are not. Some continue to do business as usual and therefore are missing the opportunity for (their) California flowers to rise as the local choice when it comes to meeting this consumer demand for local.
The Commission will continue to promote California’s flowers as the local choice, but in 2013 we are counting on the farms to “sell” their flowers accordingly through to their supply chain partners.
So how can you make a difference in 2013? Here are some simple suggestions to inspire you and your team:
- Label everything “CA Grown”
- Mass Market, Wholesale, Farmers Market, Florist Direct, Consumer Direct; label all of it before it leaves your door.
- Focus on being local, not a commodity
- More sustainable, fresher, higher quality, quicker to market, etc.
- Start a blog
- Have you and your sales team and employees engage on coordinated Social Media effort to spread the news on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest
- Join my Twitter team
- Cooperate as a team, Coordinate the message, Drive Demand!
- Join a committee (committee’s appointed this month)
Where do you see demand for locally grown flowers?
How do we help people better identify with where America’s flowers can be found?