Super markets
California Protea Management 800-423-6445
Protea News
Home Page About CPM Protea History Flowers & Plants Cultural Care consulting Protea News


See more
Super Markets

Hey supermarkets, I'ts time to be progressive

by Ben Gill

Recently, I spent some time with a friend going into various types of supermarkets to visit their floral departments. Being a specialty cut-flower grower, I am accustomed to seeing floral products other than specialty flowers used in pre-made bouquets

You'll see greater profits by offering a complete line of upscale and unique

Usually, you only see the bouquets and flower offerings that are very similar, so you can imagine the surprise I had when I saw two of the over 150 species of Proteaceae, which is grown in California, being used in one of those arrangements.


Statistics show that supermarkets and retail florists are the top two outlets for fresh flowers with three-quarters of all the fresh floral products consumed in the United States. Do you think there might be some room for exotics in the mix?

I feel that there is a huge market untapped for exotic flowers and foliages of the Proteacease family -- Protea, banksia Leucospermum and Leucadendrons

These types of flowers and foliages are not used extensively because the majority of the buying public does not know or has never seen them before. Can you imagine at a demonstration showing quick ways to use protea? Telling the spectators and shoppers that these flowers last two or three weeks and "they don't die, they dry." How's that for instantly adding value?

We all know how important it is to "show and tell" with floral products. If they don't see how to use them, they won't buy them.

The family includes Protea, the cupped-shape flowers such as pink mink and pink ice but which also include the much larger kings and queens, Banksias, which look similar to bottlebrush, have yellows, oranges and greens, Leucospermums resemble grandma's sewing pinchushion, and come in colors from salmon pinks and reds to yellows and oranges. Last but not least, the most under-used floral product in our floral palette is the Leucadendrons. These colored foliages, ranging from the red Safari Sunset to pinks, yellows, silvers, greens and golds in over 70 varieties, last up to three weeks and are sleeping giants of the bouquet market.

At present, it is difficult to time this overloaded production situation and still be able to meet requirements of the bouquet industry. It is my belief that there are terrific opportunities for all with these exciting, unusual flowers.


There is a new market out there that is being overlooked by supermarkets in the specialty flower area. I believe that the new trends of purchasing are here and need to be examined. Upscale bouquets and higher-style floral arrangements could become the norm if positioned for the impulse buyer.

At the recent Fun 'N Sun convention in Anaheim, CA., Rocky Pollitz gave an excellent presentation entitled "Trends: Understanding the Consumers." Her facts and figures had my mind racing about how supermarkets could tap into this instantly captive market.


I began to think, "All types of consumers have to eat, whether it is steak or Spam, so they are in the grocery store contstantly, Baby boomers, Xer's 2001, Generation Y and even the Nintendo kid's all influence Mom on what they like. So what market do we target? All of them!"


as seen in the Produce News - September 1, 2003

Ben Gill is president and owner of California Protea Management in Valley Center, CA. He can be reached at 800/4236445 or

  • "Fresh Choice," written by Kate Penn, as published in Floral Management, September 1996
  • Protea Care - this link will bring you the "Cultural Care" area of our website
  • "Popularity" as published in the Flower News, April 22, 2000
  • "Persnickety Protea," by Nan Sterman,
    as published in San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles.
  • "Blooming Profits," as published in the San Diego Union Tribune, September 01, 1999.
  • Leucadendrons: Sleeping Giants
  • Pink Ice © 1997 - 2017
California Protea Management is owned and operated by Ben Gill.
Contact Information
760-535-8499 |