Co-operative joins British poinsettia push with 100 per cent UK sourcing

The Co-operative has followed Sainsbury in announcing it is selling 100 per cent British poinsettia this year.

The retailer will source 100 per cent British poinsettia, grown by KJ Curson at Wisbech, which is producing 200,000.

Co-operative Food horticulture buyer Nicky Baynton said: "We are really proud to offer our shoppers 100 per cent British poinsettias this year, and a week earlier than usual. The demand for poinsettias at Christmas just keeps on growing.

"Poinsettias are sensitive to temperature change, so they must be kept away from drafts and cold areas. Water regularly with tepid water to keep the compost moist (but not drenched) and Poinsettias should last over the festive season. They really are a beautiful addition to the home during Christmas."

Last month, Sainsbury's said it was putting the Home Grown logo on all its poinsettias - a second year running.

The British Protected Ornamentals Association has surveyed 50 growers, on behalf of the Stars for Europe programme, producing approximately three million plants for sales in supermarkets and garden centres. They have been produced in all sizes from the mini 6cm single head to the branched plants in 10, 13, 17cm and larger containers.

The BPOA interim chairman Simon Davenport said: "This year, there has been a 15 per cent increase in production overall. This has been realised for a variety of reasons: increased demand for home grown plants; availability of supply contracts and increased use of bio-mass heating.

"Due to the complexity of producing these beautiful plants and the attendant problems of getting them to market in prime condition, there is never one simple reason for starting or even increasing existing production.

"Growers need to have a high grade nursery facility, experienced growing staff, good market knowledge and contacts. When all this is in harmony, the change in supply contracts, increase in demand or availability of competitively priced fuel for heating can be the final factor that would enable the crop to proceed."

He added: "The balance between the garden centre and grocery multiple is about 20:80 for the domestically produced crop. Taking the imported product into consideration, the sales would be split 10:90. (The most recent figures for sales of poinsettia in the UK give the total as 8M.) 

"Those consumers who take the time to visit their local garden centres will find a large range of plant sizes and varieties available, most likely from local growers. Many of the fancy varieties introduced by breeders to increase the interest in the product will be found there. In contrast, the supermarkets focus on supplying the market with plants transported rapidly from the best growers and at the most competitive prices. Naturally, these days, the multiples also focus on increasing to the product value by packaging and use of ceramic pots. Sainsbury’s have also declared that they are sourcing 100 per cent of their product from UK growers and used the Home Grown mark."

On weather, he said: "Growers currently report that the production has gone well as weather conditions have been good this autumn. Some crops are a little late due to the stronger light in the September / October period. Sales are well under way and packing is going well due to the ease of selecting the right plants from the crop which has a high percentage of marketable product. All will depend now on the next two weeks when the continuing demand should ensure that nurseries empty out and growers can turn off the heating before the weather gets too cold to conserve energy."

The Stars for Europe programme is an EU funded marketing initiative to support the development of sales of poinsettia throughout the EU and with particular reference to markets with growth potential such as the UK. ee  




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