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Keeping it cool: Benefits of Cool Chain Management for Floral Businesses

Have you ever taken note of how fast you need to sell flowers from the time you buy them from your supplier? Or ever wondered how far a flower had to travel before it reached your store and how long it will add joy and cheer to the customer who will purchase it from you? By nature, we know that flowers are delicate and highly perishable, from the time a flower is picked an invisible hourglass is turned over initiating the inevitable decline of these beautiful blooms. But why is it that from the time two similar flowers are purchased one might only last 3 days and another 2 weeks? What separates the former from the later? If you are the fanciful type you might be tempted to think it’s magic, but sorry to disappoint you, the answer is closer to science than magic. Although, we at Floranow do think the process that has been proven to drastically improve flower vase life is pretty magical. If you have been around us for any length of time you would have heard us mention our ‘unbroken cool chain’ but what is it and why are we so proud of it? As mentioned before, flowers start dying from the moment they are picked. This is one of the qualities that make flowers so precious; their delicacy and ephemeral nature. Modern science hasn’t yet figured out how to prevent decay, but it has come a long way in figuring out how to slow it down. An unbroken cool chain like ours ensures that flowers grown in the cool heights of Mount Kenya can grace the halls and tables in the heart of Kuwait for weeks. The vast distance between flower growers and markets makes good cool chain management a vital necessity and we understand this. Without proper cool chain management flowers experience water loss, tissue deterioration and can develop fungus-like botrytis cinereal, subsequently resulting in aesthetic imperfections that drastically reduce their desirability and vase life.

How does a cool chain system actually work? One of the things we pay close attention to is temperature control from the time the flowers are harvested or cut to the time we deliver them to our clients. All the growers we work with cut their flowers in water and rapidly cool them before packing them for transportation in carefully temperature-controlled vans, planes and inevitably our state of the art fulfillment center. All our flowers are temperature monitored before being airlifted from their export country and upon arrival to us in order to ensure that they are delivered in pristine condition.

Cool chain management, however, shouldn’t end with us. We encourage our clients to create a personal cool chain system because we understand the added value and benefits this will give their businesses. Beyond improved and extended vase life the other direct benefits of good cool chain management include higher quality and value floral arrangements, improved inventory management, improved pricing models, reduced loss from discarded stock; all working together to ensure that your business gains higher profit margins.

We have put together a list of tips to help you improve your cool chain management:
  1. Never buy flowers unless they are delivered in a temperature-controlled van and in water. Even a few hours out of a well-controlled cool environment can rapidly reduce the vase life of most flowers. Go a step further and verify that your supplier pre-cools flowers before taking them out into the often-bruising Middle Eastern heat. Make it a point of pride to prefer to work with suppliers with a good cold chain management.
  2. Keep flower stock in specialized refrigeration at an average of 0-0.5 °C to at most 5°C. Experiments held to show that flowers stored at 0° C lasted up to 10.8 days longer than those stored at 7.5°C. Get expert help in setting up your cold room to ensure that your stock doesn’t suffer from frost damage resulting in black stems and tissue death.
  3. Monitor and track how temperature affects the quality and shelf life of your flower stock. If left unmonitored it is easy for temperature to be slightly too low or too high to promote optimal vase life, so pay attention.
  4. Cut out the middleman! Floranow allows you to order directly from the grower, meaning your flowers are cut to order and shipped directly to you through our unbroken cool chain. Consequently, the flowers you receive are fresher, last longer and enhance every bouquet and arrangement they are added to, guaranteeing that you get the best quality.
Have you ever tried to implement cool chain management? Did you find it easy or difficult? What are some of the barriers to setting up an unbroken cool chain from the fields to your customers and how can we help? Let us know in the comments below and sign up for our blog to learn more about all things flora and Floranow.
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