Mass Market News

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and while COVID-19 has made this a rough spring for flower growers and many others in the floriculture industry, the upcoming holiday may be a sign of light at the end of the tunnel.

During the Produce Marketing Association’s weekly Virtual Town Hall discussion this week, floral industry leaders from the supermarket retail world had a lot to say about how they’re prepping for Mother’s Day. Their bottom-line message for stores, and the growers who supply them with products, was that the nation needs a reason to celebrate, and Mother’s Day offers just that opportunity.

Here are some highlights from the discussion (note that direct quotes and comments from speakers are not permitted), including tips on how growers in this category can prepare.

With consumers largely being unable or unwilling to go into stores to shop, e-commerce is becoming a viable option, even if it means knowing that your order might take a few days to be filled.

As one floral category manager noted, growers and retailers should not let the results of this Easter season determine how Mother’s Day week may shape up. “Easter isn’t always reflective of what will happen on Mother’s Day, as weather and timing often mean business can fluctuate from year to year,” the manager said. “We should instead look at categories that have performed well so far this year; that’s a better gauge.”

Speaking of categories, one retailer noted that they are doing very well with outdoor gardening products sales, including soil. In addition, foliage and succulents are also selling well.

A concern that one of the retailers noted is the arrival of half-full trucks, which can be costly for both the distributor and the retailer. “We need to figure out way to not have half-full trucks making deliveries, which means looking for ways to partner with multiple vendors on deliveries,” the retailer said.

A similar suggestion was raised by another retailer: If you supply flowers to a grocery store, find out when their peak delivery days are for produce, and try to separate your delivery days accordingly.

In conversations with their plant suppliers, some of the retailers noted that on-farm planning has been critical. For example, if even plants from a farm may be ready for delivery, the availability of hard goods and shipping materials may be limited. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any issues at entry points.

The end message from many retailers was that the industry should not look at Mother’s Day this year as it has in the past. “Our planning should reflect what is in our toolbox today, not what it is in a typical year,” one speaker said. “Having said that, I am optimistic we will have a strong year.”