2021-01-18

Orchids – from top seller to “problem case”

Orchids – from top seller to “problem case”
 
Author:
Managing Director Media Concept Schweiz AG

In the last 25 years, the production and sales figures for orchids knew only one way - upwards. While considerable quantities were still produced in Germany and Switzerland in the 1980s and 1990s, from the 2000s onwards, almost all production shifted to the Netherlands. Currently, nine out of ten orchids come from Dutch nurseries. In this blog post we take a look behind the scenes of production and analyse the market development.

Orchids are not an easy culture. This applies to the areas of young plants, technical requirements for cultivation and marketing. Young plants are usually obtained from in-vitro laboratories. A few specialised companies such as Hark Orchids in Lippstadt deal with this topic. In tissue culture pieces of plant tissue are placed on a nutrient medium and subsequently form leaves and roots. Depending on the species, it may take several weeks or months to adapt. The total cultivation time is between 9 and 24 months depending on the pot size and plant height.

The view into a tissue culture production facility – young plants of orchids
The view into a tissue culture production facility – young plants of orchids

In order to cultivate these special plants successfully and economically, special equipment for the greenhouses is required. The culture takes place at approx. 26 - 28 °C and in the winter half year even under artificial light. Because of the high energy demand, almost all the specialised companies have the ability to produce their own electricity and heat; e.g. via geothermal energy. Taking into account these possibilities, it is actually possible to grow orchids with limited CO2 pollution.

Orchids have a long production time
Orchids have a long production time

These special requirements for production facilities led to the fact that today, for example, in the Netherlands there are only about 60 farms for orchids, while in 2000 there were about 200. During the same period, the sales volume has risen steadily. However, since 2018 prices have fallen due to a massive oversupply. High-quality phalenopisis with 3-4 shoots, which cost about 20 to 25 euros in retail 8 years ago, are now sometimes offered in sales for 5.99 EURO.

High energy consumption in the production of orchids
High energy consumption in the production of orchids

In summary, we can say that many orchid species have passed the peak of the product life cycle and money can only with difficulty be made either in production or in trade. Now, entrepreneurial instinct and creativity are required in order to find new products that also place high demands on the expensive production facilities.

Orchids have become a mass product and sales prices have fallen
Orchids have become a mass product and sales prices have fallen

We accompany our customers over the years and deliver marketing concepts. In this respect, we are sparring partners in market observation and product development. We look forward to talking to you; we would also be happy to discuss the topic of the product life cycle.

 

Author:
Robert Wacker
Managing Director Media Concept Schweiz AG
Robert Wacker has been working in the green industry since 1980. For 20 years, he has been developing marketing and sales concepts for breeders, producers and retailers. As Managing Director of Media Concept Schweiz AG, he regularly writes articles for this blog.