There has been a buzz in the floristry world about a new product which could replace floral foam, we managed to catch up with the owners at the Interflora world cup to find out a more about this new exciting medium. We also wanted to know when can expect to see it available in the UK!
Phoam Labs won the “Most Sustainable Floristry Innovation Award” at the Interflora World Cup where several new initiatives were being displayed. As soon as we receive a sample, we will test it out for you.
Phoam Labs Background
Phoam Labs is a manufacturer of compostable floral foam headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The inspiration behind Phoam Labs was CEO and co-founder, Dundee Butcher, while she was living in London, working at a high-end florist. She was always fascinated by the beauty of floral design but disheartened by the waste created, which all went to landfill.
Dundee and her co-founder, Leonard Kirchdoerfer, entered into a research agreement with the University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Polymers, where the technology for a compostable foam was developed from 2016 to 2018. Patents were granted in the US and Europe on this technology in the spring of 2022. In that year the company also started a research and development facility in Minneapolis. In September 2022, Phoam Labs went on to win the 2022 Minnesota Cup (a competition of nearly 2,600 early-stage companies in Minnesota) and the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Prize for its development of a compostable and non-toxic foam.
Phoam Labs’ compostable floral foam is made from plant-based materials. The company is currently pursuing composability certifications from the major certifying groups. Phoam Labs expects products to be available for purchase in early 2024 on its website and through a network of wholesalers in Europe and the United States.
Watch this space for updates!
Multi Association collaboration
In early November BFA board directors met with several other florist Associations. Danish, French, Dutch and Norwegian to share how sustainable information is passed to members in their countries. The aim was to see if there were similarities, to share knowledge and to find out the differences in sustainable practices throughout Europe. Some interesting discussions were had and an acknowledgement that a united effort in this is the way forward. We all agreed to share our information which will be collected and a further meeting scheduled for Jan to enhance collaboration.Button
The Flower Council of Holland: Sustainability survey results
FCH have shared their findings with us and you may find the results interesting. The British consumer feels that the floriculture sector is still too cautious regarding sustainability.
In April and May, nearly 5,000 people buying flowers and plants in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the United Kingdom participated in the online survey that the research company Kantar conducted on behalf of Bloemenbureau Holland. The objective was to gain feedback on various sustainability-related matters. When it comes to sustainability, what is the flower and plant purchasing audience’s perception? What are their expectations and which barriers do consumers perceive to inform sustainable choices? This time around, more questions were added to the 2022 survey to gain further insight in the perception of sustainability, packaging preferences and the impact of communications around flowers and plants.
The survey tested the extent to which the floriculture sector, according to consumers, contributes to a better future for humanity and the environment. The perception of British consumers is positive in terms of both the sector as well as the products it provides. Their main concerns involve packaging, pollution, and health risks. Half of the consumers are of the opinion that the sector remains too reactive when it comes to sustainability efforts. They expect growers and retailers to take on a leading role in that respect.
For British consumers, sustainable packaging should notably be easy to recycle and easily recognisable as being sustainable. In Great Britain, biodegradable materials are considered to be most sustainable. The main feature for flower gift wrapping should be visual appeal. Important features for houseplants and garden plants are recyclability and packaging materials.
For around 45 percent of respondents, the main product encountered in communications are plants, versus 42 percent for flowers. For well over 25 percent of respondents, communications had a positive impact on their perception of flowers and plants. Twenty nine percent remembers coming across communications around sustainability.
Sustainability labels strengthen consumer confidence and are an incentive to make sustainable choices. Over half (57%) of the British consumers remembers seeing sustainability labels. Almost a third of them says they were helpful to them. Across the group that has never noticed a sustainability label before, the majority (60%) would expect a label to be helpful upon purchasing. Half of the respondents indicate that they trust sustainability labels.
Barriers and better informed sustainable choices
British consumers experience a number of barriers to making sustainable decisions. Many indicate that sustainability is not a consideration. Furthermore, lack of information and inaccurate assumptions about sustainability prevent them from buying sustainable flowers and plants. For half of those purchasing flowers and plants, buying floriculture products should just remain a fun activity.
The 2022 and 2023 summer surveys are no more than snapshots. For improved attitude monitoring, the Bloemenbureau Holland has initiated biweekly monitoring in all four countries. This will allow for monitoring of the positive and negative effects of actual circumstances over a longer period of time. The outcomes of the first couple of months are currently being collected. Towards the end of the year, more insight in trend developments over a longer period of time will have been gained.
Julie visits the big shows in Holland
International Floriculture Trade Fair and Trade Fair Aalsmeer is where there are a vast collection of flower growers from around the world all showing their amazing varieties of flowers with sustainability goals, one of their key priorities.
Ecuador has recently seen the worst drought in 50 years and a couple of growers explained how this has affected them. The Countries main power source is hydroelectric power and due to the low water levels the Government have had to impose blackouts which last up to 4 hours. As Roses are grown in glass houses, controlling the temperature has been a challenge, but the quality of the varieties at the show were amazing and knowing the struggles the country is going through, it made us appreciate them even more.
It is always exciting meeting new companies and one that stood out for us is Plantics DOPA plant pots.
Getting rid of plastic pots for the Florist and consumer is always difficult and in some areas of the UK they still need to go to landfill. This is why we were excited to see these paper pots as they were strong enough to hold the plant while it grew and could also be planted direct into the soil.
Plantics is developing a biodegradable resin that makes a paper pot plant pot stronger than the ‘normal’ paperpot. These Plant pots made from recycled paper and Plantics bio-resins, are strong and fully compostable and at the same time suited for large-scale automated cultivation in green houses as well as use in homes and gardens.
Their focus is:
- Home compostable with cold temperatures in the garden at home
- No micro plastics
- Organic look and feel
- No infringement of food chain
The company was founded on 2014 and emerged from the technical department of the UVA (University of Amsterdam), which produces a biodegradable resin. They produced a unique group of 100% bio based thermoset resins and the world’s first 100% bio based thermoset materials. Together with its partners, Plantics develops high-quality, circular and CO2 negative products.
The website from Plantics is: www.plantics.com
A New Course
Julie has been given the opportunity to try out the new sustainable course produced by Sustainable Florist Network, once finished we will be giving you more details in the next newsletter. Watch this space!
If you have anything within sustainability that you think we should look into or you have tips you’d like to share with florists, please email firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to hear from you!