Six questions that need answering about the UK flower market

Sue Lamb.
Sue Lamb.

Pinchbeck flower grower Sue Lamb asks why just ten per cent of flowers sold in supermarkets are British.

We are fast approaching the longest day and the peonies and Sweet Williams are all but finished and we are starting to pack sunflowers.

Next month many ornamental growers, packers and buyers are attending the Great British Flowers Seminar hosted by Flowers from the Farm, growers trying to raise the profile of British produced flowers and plants. The big question is why, when we produce such a huge range of seasonal flowers, are our fixtures in our biggest supermarkets and florists dominated by imported product?

A number of questions need asking:

1 – Is it easy buying by the supermarket buyer?

2 – Is it the offer put to them by the packer?

3 – Is it because some of our biggest packers have commercial ties or partners in other parts of the world where flowers are produced?

4 – Is it margins?

5 – Is it better vase life?

6 – Is it simply that the customer prefers them?

I don’t think any of us are sure of the answers to these questions.

Certainly we don’t grow enough in the UK to fill the fixture but I am positive the ‘British offer’ could be more dominant than it is. We actually only grow in the UK about 10 per cent of all flowers sold.

So when buying your next bunch of flowers look for the flag. Remember, like everything else, if not supported it will disappear!