"It's a relationship that can be quite demanding," he said. "But there are opportunities for suppliers to build strong relationships. Big retailers don't want thousands of suppliers, they want scale and efficiency. The opportunity is there to help them achieve that, though there are a limited number of suppliers who can do it."
Moorhouse's reflections on his experience as technical director with Mack and then G's Fresh "will be from the point of view of the winners", he pointed out. "But others can collaborate, for example though producer organisations, and there are opportunities to specialise. Large suppliers are not so good at specialist things, which leaves space for niche companies."
Meanwhile, "disruptive ideas and technologies" can still penetrate apparently mature markets, he said, giving the example of the rise of discount retailers over the past five years. "It's an incredibly competitive marketplace and big players don't remain so unless they are agile and flexible. The same also applies to suppliers."
Large retailers have also "tightened their games up" in their dealings with suppliers since the introduction of the groceries code adjudicator, added Moorhouse. "How committed they are to its aims is another debate."
Other speakers include Marshall Dirks of Proven Winners, USA, James Simpson of Adrian Scrips, Bruce Harnett of Kernock Park Plants and Carol Paris of the HTA.
- The GrowQuip conference and exhibition will be held at the Stratford Manor Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon on 26-27 October. It is organised by the Commercial Horticultural Association. To attend as either an exhibitor or a delegate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or register online at www.cha-hort.com.
The last AHDB/BPOA study tour to the USA in 2015 was a great success.
The area was specifically selected because the climate experienced, in terms of day length and light levels, is comparable with London and south-east England.
Visits will include Terra Nova Nurseries, which introduces new varieties and is strong in Heuchera, Tiarella and Heucherella; Smiths Gardens, consisting of 10ha of glass producing annuals, hanging baskets and planters; Northwest Horticulture, growing plug plants including perennials, grasses and ground cover species on more than 200ha of production space; and De Vry Greenhouses and Rainbow Greenhouses, which both produce bedding, seasonal plants and baskets.