Flowers: giving the market what it wants

Page last updated: Friday, 9 December 2016 - 1:58pm

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Where are flowers sold?

Flowers are sold through a large range of outlets. Traditionally, it was the florist and a few roadside sales. Many retailers now sell a wide range of products in the trend to become a one-stop shop and capture a greater share of the retail dollar. This means that flowers have appeared in supermarkets, service stations, corner shops, transport terminals, hospitals and liquor shops.

Increasing quantities of floriculture products are being sold by telephone and through the Internet.

Each generally has a specific target market and may not be providing head to head competition. For example, supermarkets, service stations and roadside retailers are more likely to target impulse buyers. These are likely to spend a smaller amount. Consumers looking for a gift for a special occasion are more likely to go to a professional florist and be prepared to pay more.

Supermarkets generally want large supplies of uniform lines at consistent prices and delivery dates. This puts pressure on growers to meet these specifications. Increased sales from outlets such as service stations will also require specific quality and price.

Maintaining the cool chain

All stages of industry expect quality and freshness that can only be obtained through keeping cool temperatures right through the supply chain.

Each part of the chain has to do its job. The emphasis needs to be on keeping flowers at 2°C at all times. All components of the industry need to take responsibility for their product to ensure Australia maintains a good reputation.

Cool temperatures need to be accompanied by ethylene scrubbing. This is particularly important when ethylene-sensitive flowers are transported with other commodities such as fruit and vegetables.

The chain starts with growers using insulated vans to transport flowers from the field to the coolroom. When arranging transport to the wholesaler or exporter, the vehicle should be insulated or refrigerated. The same applies when wholesalers transport flowers to the retailer or florist.

There have been problems with flowers warming during air transport because of lack of cool store facilities at airports, in transit and when travelling with other cargo. It can also happen when product is moved from one plane to another on an indirect flight. At times, cargo is off-loaded when the plane needs extra fuel. Exporters need to ensure freight forwarders and agents have access to coolrooms at the point of arrival.


Packaging is important for number of reasons.

It allows mixing of different flowers into cartons to reduce handling and allows through freight. Different carton sizes in different markets will also help. Distinctive cartons, for example using colour or labelling, can also make product stand out.


The original material in this page was adapted from work authored by Gerry Parlevliet and Christine Storer and a paper by Peter Batt, Senior Lecturer, Agribusiness Marketing (Horticulture), Curtin University of Technology at a seminar organised by Flowerswest in 2001. It in turn draws on local information from an undergraduate student project by Johanna Pool, a student in a four-year Bachelor of Agribusiness (Horticulture) degree.