Title: Improved marketing of Florida gladiolus
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Title: Improved marketing of Florida gladiolus
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Creator: Smith, Cecil Nuckols,
Publisher: Department of Agricultural Economics, Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations
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Full Text

October, 1955

Agricultural Economics Mimeo. Report 56-2

Improved Marketing Of Florida



Cecil N. Smith and Donald L. Brooke

Associate Agricultural Economists

Percent (Total of 400,000 Dozen from Five Shippers) Dollars
of Total per Dozen
35 1.10
30 Relative SeasonAverage 90
Importance Prc For F90
(Quantity) Special Grade
S .80
25 -

20 .60

15 -

10 .30


0 0
PIcardy Valeria June Hopnan's Elizaeth Morning Phantom Snow Leewen- Rosa
Bells Glory theQueen Kin Beauty Princess horst vanLIma






Cecil N. Smith and Donald L. Brooke2/
Associate Agricultural Economists
Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


This is a report on the marketing of the 1952-53 Florida gladiolus
crop. It includes a brief review of the growth of the industry, changes
in marketing practices and previous price trends. In addition, a number
of marketing principles as they apply to the sale of gladiolus are con-
sidered in this report.

Importance:--Commercial production of gladiolus in Florida has be-
come a multi-million dollar industry following a small beginning about
1925. Much of this growth took place during and after World War II at
a time of relatively high prices and increasing demand. In 1949 the
census reported a wholesale value of eight million dollars for 153 mil-
lion gladiolus spikes produced by 104 growers in Florida. Gladiolus con-
stituted more than 60 percent of the value of all cut flowers and flower-
ing plants in the state. Florida accounted for more than half of the
nation's gladiolus marketing in 1949.

Five years later, in 1954, the Florida State Marketing Bureau esti-
mated that some 162 million spikes were harvested from approximately
9,850 acres. The value of the 1953-54 crop was conservatively estimated
at eight million dollars.

Past Marketing Practices:--The trend in marketing of gladiolus seems
to be toward more alrect selling.

The merchandising picture of Florida gladiolus has
changed a great deal.... Formerly the large proportion of
our product was merchandised on a consignment basis to whole-

1/A progress report on flower marketing research at the Florida Agri-
cultural Experiment Stations presented at the annual convention of the
Florida Gladiolus Growers Association, Miami Beach, Florida, on October 8,
1955. The research on which this report is based was supported in part by
funds appropriated under Title II of the Research and Marketing Act of 1946.

2/ Appreciation is expressed to Dr. H. G. Hamilton, Head, Department
of"-gricultural Economics, for his guidance throughout the course of the
study. A debt of graditude is due Mrs. Shirley Dykes, Statistical Clerk,
and others for their painstaking work in tabulating the data. Special
thanks are also expressed to the gladiolus growers who made their records
available, and to the Florida Gladiolus Growers Association for their
support of this study.

sale commission florists throughout the United States but
since that time there has been a definite trend toward di-
rect sales specifically to retail florists. Today I would
say that approximately fifty percent of our product is sold
direct to retailers, brokers, or on an f.o.b. basis to whole-
salers and the remaining fifty percent is merchandised to
wholesale commission florists on a consignment basis. The
trend is to ever increasing sales on direct basis to retail
and other outlets.Y/
This is usually considered an improvement over the old method be-
cause it has expanded distribution, resulting in a better adjustment
of supply to the general market demand. To the extent that it reduces
some of the periodic oversupply conditions in the larger cities it has
resulted in relatively more price stability.

Price Trends:--The New York market has been a leading pricing cen-
ter for gladiolus. This is true because it constitutes the biggest sin-
gle market for gladiolus in the United States. Annual wholesale prices
on the New York Market were O0.50 per dozen in 1940 and less than $0.60
per dozen in 1942. For the next three years there was a sharp upward
trend in prices with a peak of $1.50 per dozen in 1945. In 1946 and
again in 1948 prices dropped sharply, reaching a low point of about $0.83
per dozen in the latter year. From 1948 to 1954 annual wholesale prices
of gladiolus on the New York market were relatively stable, ranging from
$0.92 per dozen in 1950 to $0.82 in 1953.W

Annual wholesale prices per dozen in the Boston market have general-
ly been higher than those in New York. Chicago prices have also averaged
higher than New York and even higher than Boston until 1954. Prices in
all three cities have generally followed the same trend, but at different

Why are Boston and Chicago gladiolus prices higher than New York's?
Besides a difference in transportation costs because of relative location
with respect to producing areas, other possible reasons for differences
are as follows: (1) These are all imperfect markets, i.e. buyers and sell-
ers do not all have the same information on supplies and demand at the
same time and therefore evaluate the market differently. (2) Some indi-
viduals in the industry suggest that New York may be a dumping ground
for excess supplies. (3) Relatively fewer sales may be made through whole-
sale commission houses in Boston and Chicago. (4) Higher percentages of
better grades are sent to Boston and Chicago. (5) Demand may be more
constant in the Boston and Chicago markets and hence easier for buyers

./Letter from Ed H. Price, Jr., Manager, Florida Gladiolus Growers
Association, Bradenton, Florida, dated May 18, 1953 to Warren K. Trotter.
Quoted in Warren K. Trotter. Problems in Marketing Florists Crops (Cor-
nell Agricultural Experiment Station A7E. 983), 1955- p. ilf-l .

Il/Warren K. Trotter. op. cit., pp. 22-23.

to adjust supplies to demand.

Wholesale prices of gladiolus in New York from 1943 to 1947 were re-
latively higher than the movement of the general wholes le price level
of all commodities but have remained lower since then.& If the price of
gladiolus had followed the level of general wholesale prices, the per doz-
en wholesale price in New York would have risen from $0.50 in 1940 to
$1.08 in 1954. Prices in Boston remained above the general price level
from 1943 to 1951 and.those in Chicago remained above it through 1952.
The period from 1943 to 1918 was one of expanded production and relative-
ly few grower bankruptcies. After 1948, growers were faced with surplus-
es and low returns. Marketing has become a leading problem of the in-

An individual price is just a statistic. Put a group of them to-
gether and perhaps one can see a trend or the lack of trend. By break-
ing down the annual prices into monthly, weekly, or daily prices one
has the opportunity of getting additional information. Weekly average
prices received for all grades of gladiolus when compared with weekly
total receipts on the New York market for the past three seasons show
that the price decreased as the supply increased. In daily grade-prices
there was a slight lag in adjustment to supply changes.

In the 1952-53 season, prices rose rapidly from an average of $0.42
per dozen in early October to ap average of $1.80 per dozen in mid-Jan-
uary because of short supplies*V2 Because of the three major holidays
occurring in this period, a heavy demand would normally be expected. In
late January supplies increased sharply and prices dropped. The 170,000
dozen received in New York the week ending March 6 tumbled average prices
to a low of $0.38 per dozen. Recovery was fairly rapid, however, possi-
bly due to the approaching Easter trade. In spite of a smaller supply,
prices dropped the week after the holiday,

Wholesale prices in the 1953-54 season were below $0,70 per dozen
until the first week in November when supplies dropped to a low of 24,000
dozen. Supplies then increased from this low to a high of 170,000 dozen
in mid-April, and prices dropped from $1.00 to $0,50 per dozen.
In the 1954-55 season the same general pattern in supplies was evi-
dent. A seasonal low point was reached in November, followed by in-
creasing supplies which reached a peak in May. Prices generally in-

/Data on prices and quantities of gladiolus on the New York market
for the 1952-53, 1953-54 and 1954-55 seasons are taken from the New
York City Daily Cut Flower Market Reports. Average weekly receipts of
gladiolus from al sources during the Florida shipping season from Octo-
ber through June were 92,549 dozen in 1952-53, 96,772 dozen in 1953-54
and 82,246 dozen in 1954-55,

creased from October to January and, except for Easter, decreased from
January to June. Prices fluctuated more widely in 1954-55 than in


This study has as its objective the determination of the extent of
use of various selling practices and the scope of distribution of Florida
gladiolus. Records on the 1952-53 sales of gladiolus were obtained from
a sample of eleven Florida shippers. These have been partially analyzed.
Findings to date are preliminary but there is no reason to believe that
they will be changed to any great extent in the final analysis.

Most of the analysis of this study which has been completed is con-
cerned with sales to wholesale consignment houses in New York City.f/
Receivers there indicated on their returns the gross prices received for
each grade and variety. This was a procedure not generally followed


Varieties:--Of the 56 varieties on which market information was
recorded, 20 varieties accounted for 96 percent of the total quantity
consigned to New York City by the five, shippers previously mentioned
Table 1). The leading ten varieties made up 86 percent of the total.
PICARDY led all other varieties with 26 percent of all shipments. It
was followed by VALERIA with 14 percent of the total. The other eight
leading varieties, in order of importance, were JUNE BELLS, HOPMAN'S
LEEWENHORST, and ROSA VAN LIMA. None of these accounted for as much as
ten percent of the total.

The season average prices for the Fancy and Special grades of the
PHANTOM BEAUTY variety were higher than those of any other variety (Table
2). Since the Extra Fancy grade was used by several shippers during the
1952-53 season and returns for both Extra Fancy and Fancy grades would
not be sufficiently large to warrant their inclusion for each variety,
they were combined with the data for the Fancy grade so that all are here
classified as Fancy. Thus, for most purposes, the prices of the Special
and lower grades will yield better comparisons than those of the Fancy
grade. Even here, it is recognized that grade standards may vary be-
tween varieties, between growers and even within a single variety ship-
ped by a specific grower throughout the course of a season. Nevertheless,

./Data by grade and variety were obtained from the sale of approxi-
mately 400,000 dozen gladiolus by five shippers. Data on grades shipped
and total returns received for an additional 300,000 dozen were obtained
from the marketing records of all shippers contacted in the study.

it was necessary to take the grade data as it was recorded on grovars*

Table 1.- Leading Varieties of Florida Gladiolus Consigned to
the New York City Wholesale Cut Flower Market and
Their Relative Importance, 1952-53 Season

(Data on 400,000 Dozen from Five Shippers)

Rank Variety : Percent of Total

1 PICARDY 26.0
2 VALERIA 14i.

Leading Ten Subtotal 86,4

15 RED CHARM 0.7
20 ARCADIA 0.4

Second Ten Subtotal 9.7


The $1.0o season average gross prices per dozen for the Special
grade of PHANTOM BEAUTY twas higher than that of any of the other nine
major varieties (see front cover). It Bwas followed by MORNING KISS,
with a price of $1.02 per dozen, then by LEVWENHORST, with a price of
95 cents. PICARDY was next, with a price per dozen for the Special grade

Table 2.- Proportion Falling in Each Grade and Season Average Price by Grades,
Ten Leading Varieties of Florida Gladiolus Consigned to the New York City
Wholesale Market by Five Shippers, 1952-53 Season

Variety, Proportion of :
Quantity in Each Grade : GRADE
and Average Price by : : :

Percent 16 16 23 '28 '17
Price in Dollars 99 .81 .65 *55 e47
Percent '39 21 20 17 3
Price in Dollars 098 .79 .71 .60 .50

Percent 34 22 18 23 3
Price in Dollars .82 ,61 .60 .49 *49

Percent 23 18 25 21 13
Price in Dollars .77 .65 656 ,52 .43

Percent 16 18 30 27 9
Price in Dollars .96 .75 ,61 .56 ,40

Percent 26 25 23 14 12
Price in Dollars 1.25 1.02 *79 .68 .58
Percent 18 24 35 16 7
Price in Dollars 1.38 1.05 .69 .63 h45

Percent 9 18 33 32 8
Price in Dollars 1.02 ,72 s55 .47 .46
Percent 37 27 23 11 2
Price in Dollars .89 .*9 .74 *52 ,41

Percent 28 16 29 21 6
Price in Dollars .64 .58 ,44 ,43 .27

of 81 cents, and followed closely by VALERIA with a price of 79 cents.
ROSA VAN LIMA, the variety in tenth place, had a lower average price,
58 cents, recorded for its Special grade than any of the other major
varieties. Less variation between varieties was noted in the prices re-
ceived for the lower grades. Except for ROSA VAN LIMA, with the low sea-
son average price of W4 cents a dozen for A grade spikes, the range for
the other nine varieties was from 55 to 79 cents. MORNING KISS, LEEWEN-
HORST and VALERIA were the three varieties for which highest season aver-
age prices were noted for A grade spikes. It should be borne in mind
that these figures probably included certain shipments of various vari-
eties and grades which were received open or in poor condition for sale.
In addition, the proportion of each variety sold at Easter and other holi-
day periods affects the average price levels. No adjustment was made for
difference in the portion of each variety sold during the holiday seasons.

The season average price per dozen received for each grade of the
second ten varieties is noted in Table 3. Highest prices for the Fancy
and Special grades were received from sales of MAGNOLIA gladiolus. Sea-
son average prices for the Fancy grade of more than a dollar were also
received for LEADING LADY, SPOTLIGHT and NEW EUROPA. Those varieties for
which season average prices of a dollar or more per dozen were received
for the Special grade were MAGNOLIA, NEW EUROPA and GLORIOSA.

To study further the relation of variety and grade to price the months
of February and March were selected because these were months of heavy
shipments and relatively few holidays. In every instance, the average
price received during this period for each grade of the ten leading vari-
eties (Table h) was lower than the season average price. The per-dozen
price for both the Fancy and Special grades of PICARDY were higher than
those of other varieties, except that PIHATOM BEAUTY Fancies received
the same price as those of PICARDY. The same held true for VALERIA Spe-
cials. Following PICARDY and PHANTOM BEAUTY, the next highest prices
for gladiolus of the Fancy grade were received for VALERIA, JUNE BELLS,
and ELIZABETH THE QUEEN. After PICARDY and VALERIA, the next highest
prices were received for the Special grades of PHANTOM BEAUTY, MORNING

Varietal Grade Composition:--Although no data are available on the
grade breakdown of all varieties of flowers produced by each grower, it
was possible to develop data on the proportional grade composition of
shipments of each variety to the New York market in 1952-53 (Table 2,
p. 6). These data only show the proportion of a variety which were Fan-
cies; they do not indicate that these proportions were the same as the
entire cut of each variety nor that shipments to other markets had simi-
lar grade breakdowns.

The variety which had the highest proportion of the Fancy grade ship-
ped to New York in 1952-53 was VALERIA. The proportion of this variety
which graded Fancy was 39 percent. It was followed by LEEWENHORST and
JUNE BELLS with 37 and 34 percent, respectively, of the number of dozen
shipped falling in the Fancy grade. Only 9 percent of the SNO1 PRINCESS
and 16 percent of the PICARDY and ELIZABETH THE QUEEN shipments were

Table 3.- Proportion Falling in Each Grade and Season Average Price by Grades,
Second Ten Leading Varieties of Florida Gladiolus Consigned to the
New York City Wholesale Flower Market by Five Shippers, 1952-53 Season

Variety, Proportion of :
Quantity in Each Grade : GRADE
and Average Price by : :
Percent 6 7 26 l1 20
Price in Dollars 1.05 1.09 .78 .57 .50

Percent 20 25 24 19 12
Price in Dollars .83 .72 .67 .71 .60
Percent 1 13 36 50
Price in Dollars 1.00 .68 56 *39

Percent 25 22 19 29 5
Price in Dollars 1.19 .91 .69 .54 .31
Percent 11 23 35 23 8
Price in Dollars .91 .63 .54 .54 *42

Percent 46 15 12 5 22
Price in Dollars 1.10 .75 .77 .71 .29
Percent 7 25 45 17 6
Price in Dollars .77 .70 .43 #66 .49
Percent 1 6 26 53 15
Price in Dollars 1.15 1.24 .82 .44 .75

Percent 11 9 24 41 15
Price in Dollars ,99 ,92 .83 .67 .46
Percent 30 30 24 11 ..
Price in Dollars .92 .66 .45 .41 *40

l/ Less than 0*5 percent.

Table 4.- Proportion Falling in Each Grade and Average Price by Grades, Ten Leading
Varieties of Florida Gladiolus Consigned to the New York City Wholesale Flower
Market by Five Shippers During the Period from January 30 through April 2, 1955

Variety, Proportion of : GRADE
Quantity in Each Grade : GR
and Average Price by FANCY SPECIAL A B :
Grades :
PICARDY (100.0)1/
Percent 23 20 30 25 2
Price in Dollars ,84 .61 .46 .38 .29
VALERIA (77.1)
Percent 34 20 14 32 2
Price in Dollars .81. .61 .58 .38 *6
Percent 47 34 11 8 2
Price in Dollars .76 ,58 .53 .43
Percent 41 23 29 7 -
Price in Dollars .72 .53 .42 .38
Percent 15 25 41 19 2/
Price in Dollars ,76 .56 .47 .44 3
Percent 35 21 35 9
Price in Dollars .73 *58 .46 34 -
Percent 2 20 60 17 1
Price in Dollsrs .814 .9 .46 .l6 .30
Percent 3 21 44 31 1
Price in Dollars .54 ,48 .37 *34 .23
Percent 66 24 10 -
Price in Dollars .61 651 .38 -
Percent 9 14 45 32
Price in Dollars ,51 38 .31 .31

SNumbers in parentheses indicate total number of dozen of each variety as pro-
portion of PICARDY shipments.

/ Less than 0.5 percent.

The proportion for other varieties ranged from 18 to 28 percent.

24 percent or more of their shipments classified as Specials. More than
half of all shipments of five varieties LEEWENHORST, JUNE BELLS, VALERIA,
and HORNING KISS were either Specials or Fancies.

Only for PICARDY, MORNING KISS and HOPMAN'S GLORY was the proportion
of the number of dozen C s shipped to New York greater than 10 percent
of the total quantity shipped. The 17 percent of all shipments of PI&.
ABRD which fell into the C grade was the highest such proportion for any
major variety,
Four varieties had considerably higher proportions of their total
quantities (dozens) falling in the Fancy and Special grades during the
February and March period than was true for the entire marketing season.
Ninety percent of all LEEHTEHORST consigned to New York during February
and March by the five firms studied were Fancies and Specials (Table 4,
p. 9). The respective proportions for PICARDY and HOPMAN'S GLORY were
43 and 64 percent. Practically no C's of any of the ten major varieties
were consigned to New York during this period.

Seasonal and Monthly Prices:--The seasonal average gross and net
prices per dozen received for all varieties by grade of gladiolus con-
signed to the New York market for the 1952-53 season are shown in Table
5. Net average prices to the shipper ranged from $0.61 for Fancies
down to $0.26 per dozen for grade C spikes.

Table 5.- Season Average Gross and Net Returns per Dozen Re-
ceived for Gladiolus by Grade, All Varieties Consigned to
the New York City Wholesale Flower Market, 1952-53 Season

(Data on 400,000 Dozen from Five Shippers)

Grade : Gross Price (N. Y.) :Net Price (to Shipper)
Dollars -
Fancy .96 ,61
Special .78 .49
A .64 .39
B .5 .33
C .44 .26

The average monthly gross prices for all varieties by grade of
gladiolus consigned to New York in 1952-53 are noted in Table 6. Pri-
ces of all grades averaged highest in the months of October, November
and December and lowest in February and March. This is t~at one would
expect after studying the monthly shipment pattern to this market

(Table 7). Supplies were smallest before Christmas and heaviest during
the spring months. The seasonal price pattern for any and all grades is
generally inverse to supplies on the market.

Table 6.- Average Monthly Gross Price by Grade for All Varie-
ties of Gladiolus Consigned to the New York
City Flower market, 1952-53 Season

(Data on 400,000 Dozen from Five Shippers)

n : Grade
: Fancy : Special : A : B : C
October 1.48 1.22 1.06 .88 -
November 1.30 1.18 .94 .72 .44
December 1.33 1.02 .79 .60 .48
January .92 .82 .63 .59 .61
February .73 .51 .40 .32 .24
March .80 .61 .48 .46 .57
April .85 .72 .65 .53 .37
Iay 1.30 1.05 .81 .61 -
June 1.00 1,00 .71 .51 -

Average .96 .78 .64 .55 .44

The grades of Florida gladiolus consigned to New York by months
during the 1952-53 season are also shown in Table 7. October ship-
ments ran heaviest to Special and Fancy grade flowers with very few
B's and no C's going to Hew York. In November and December 65 percent
of these shipments were grade A or lower. In January, February and
March, 50, 15, and 46 percent, respectively, were grade A or lower.
During the last three months more than two-thirds of the shipments to
New York by these shippers were of the three lower grades. For the
season, 12 percent of the shipments were Fancies and Specials, 49 per-
cent were grades A and B and slightly less than 10 percent were grade C

Daily Price Movement:--Daily prices and shipments may serve to
show to a degree the relation of price to quantity more clearly than
the weekly and monthly price data with which this report has been con-
cerned up to this time. The variation in daily total and Special grade
shipments of five shippers and the price per dozen for Specials is
shown for the New York market in the month of February 1953 (Table 8).
The general trend of shipments was downward for the first half of the
month and upward slightly thereafter. The low point in the shipment of
Specials was reached on February 16 with 47 dozen. Three days later
1,20L dozen Specials were shipped to New York.

Table 7.- Grades of Florida Gladiolus (All Varieties) Con-
signed to the New York City tTholesale Flower
Market, by Honths, 1952-53 Season

(Data on 700,000 Dozen by Eleven Shippers)

Mot: Grade
SFancy : Special : A : B : C
October (1)W / 35 41 16 8 -
November (4) 16 19 28 26 11
December (12) 20 17 22 21 20
January (12) 33 17 22 18 10
February (16) 33 22 23 18 h4
March (16) 25 29 33 13
April (20) 15 16 27 32 10
May (13) 15 18 30 32 5
June (6) 10 17 30 24 19

Average 22 20 26 23 9

2/ Numbers in parentheses following each
centage of season total shipments made in
7 Less than 0.5 percent.

month indicate per-
that month.

Price reaction was generally inverse tothe volume of shipments.
The price of Specials showed an upward swing early in the month as
shipments eased off. However, the price broke on February 10th and
tended generally downward the remainder of the month, in spite of low
shipments from the 10th through the 16th. The Valentine holiday and
carryovers probably were responsible for the narrow fluctuation of
prices between February 10 and 15. In the face of increasing supplies,
the price of Specials dropped $0.32 per dozen from February 18 through
the 25th. Total shipments during February exerted more of an influence
on the daily average price of Specials than did shipments of the Special
grade alone.-/

Market Distribution:--It is difficult for shippers to avoid er-
ratic day-to-day or week-to-week fluctuations in their cutting and
shipping because the many factors which influence growth and maturity
of gladiolus often disrupt expected harvest dates. Since gladiolus
spikes are extremely perishable and cannot be stored longer than a few

.The coefficient of determination between the price of the Special
grade and supplies was 29 percent for total shipments and 20 percent
for Special grade shipments alone.

Table 8.- Daily Shipments of All Grades (and of Special Grade) and
Average Daily Price of Special Grade of Florida Gladiolus Consigned
to the New York City VWholesale Flower Market, February 1953

(Data on Sales of Five Shippers)

: : n So Average Daily Gross Price
Date : Day of Week : Dozens Sold per Dozen (Dollars)l/
: All Grades : special Grade : Special Grade


Total or






Yt The prices noted here refer
ate of sale. Ordinarily there
mont to sale.

to the date of shipment rather than to the
will be a delay of several days from ship-

days, the stabilization of supply to match a more even demand is hard
to accomplish. WThen faced with large increases in their cuts, shippers
usually try to allocate their supplies to various markets in a manner
which will maximize their returns. In making decisions on the disposi-
tion of his product each shipper takes into account the information he
has from a small segment of the overall market. It is readily under-
standable how different conclusions on market conditions -- and shipping
patterns based thereon -- may be reached. Thus, whether the supply situ-
ation is one of gluts or shortages, individual markets may be oversup-
plied or undersupplied for a period of a few days, a week or even longer
,while exactly the opposite condition may apply to other markets.

An analysis of the gladiolus consigned by 11 shippers to the New
York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Jacksonville wholesale flower
markets indicated considerable variation in the pattern of shipments
to each market (Table 9). Of shipments to the three major markets&/
-- New York, Chicago and Philadelphia -- those to Chicago were the
most erratic. Shipments to Philadelphia followed a smoother pattern
than those to New York:.

Ship.e nts to the Jacksonville market appeared to vary less than
those to the three major markets analyzed. The shipping pattern to
Atlanta vjas very erratic. During six weeks of the 38-week 1952-53
shipping season, when supplies were short and the volume shipped to
other markets was low, no shipments were made to Atlanta by the group
studied. It is possible that other growers furnished the major share
of supplies to the Atlanta market or that some shipments were diverted
there from Jacksonville and other markets.

It was observed that an increase in weekly shipments to one of
the five markets noted were usually accompanied by increases, although
of a different magnitude, in shipments to others. The same general re-
lationship applied when there were decreases in shipments to a major

Grade Composition:--In addition to fluctuations in the shipping
pattern, further variations were noted in the relative composition of
the grades of gladiolus consigned to these five markets. Half the
number of spikes consigned to Philadelphia and Chicago and two-fifths
of those to New York were of the Fancy and Special grades (Table 10).
Less than a third of the gladiolus consigned to Atlanta and Jackson-
ville by the eleven shippers studied were of these two top grades.

Twenty-six percent of all consigned shipments to the three large
metropolitan markets noted above were A Grade spikes. Similar pro-
portions to Atlanta and Jacksonville were 30 and 27 percent,

2/The shipments from 11 producers'to wholesale consignment markets
in these three metropolitan areas during the 1952-53 season would
have provided .54 dozen gladiolus per -person in New York, .48 in Phila-
delphia and .33 in Chicago.

Table 9.- Index of Weekly Shipments by Eleven Florida Shippers to
Commission Receivers in Five Markets, 1952-53 Season
(Average of 38 Weeks = 100)

Week Market
Ending :New York : Chicago : Philadelphia : Atlanta : Jacksonville

Percent of Average Weekly Shipment -
October 18 8 16 20
25 16 5 20 72 7
November 1 26 17 46 60 16
8 17 27 65 115 89
15 18 16 56 129 61
22 22 24 46 90 54
29 76 53 96 60 87
December 6 169 61 128 83 156
13 152 79 91 44 123
20 59 12 h5 97
27 69 50 81 212
January 3 47 34 63 65
10 37 76 83 71
17 48 126 114 64 $2
24 210 228 20k 135 163
31 145 124 170 130 141
February 7 139 164 175 300 158
14 106 250 146 158 129
21 136 333 181 177 111
28 192 274 195 138 119
March 7 86 150 169 46 100
14 203 241 172 86 177
21 150 147 141 93 112
28 139 98 156 49 108
April 4 199 239 178 93 241
11 184 239 170 258 132
18 125 130 100 307 133
25 151 95 110 182 117
May 2 230 60 159 359 140
9 163 48 115 106 26
16 200 34 104 16 55
23 47 12 88 66
30 14 6 76 110 32
June 6 12 31 129
13 41 114 31 132
20 100 116 72 90
27 60 106 145 73
July 4 12 72 21

respectively. The Philadelphia market received relatively fewer C
grade gladiolus than any of the other four markets. Only 3 percent
of all shipments to Philadelphia were C's but 9 percent of the total
going to New York and 7 percent of those going to Chicago were of
this grade. The percentages of C's consigned to Atlanta and Jackson-
ville were 14 and 19 percent, respectively.

Table 10.- Grades of Florida Gladiolus Consigned to Five Whole-
sale Market Centers by Eleven Shippers, 1952-53 Season

Grade Market
Nrew York:Chicago:Philadelphia:Atlanta:Jacksonville
Fancy 22 25 30 12 14
Special 20 24 22 16 18
A 26 26 26 30 27
B 23 18 19 28 22
0 9 7 3 14 19

Total 100 100 100 100 100


Improving marketing practices requires both a backward and a
forward look. Information such as that presented in this report and
data on past production, planting intentions, the pattern of distri-
bution and prices, the supply and price situation of competitive flo-
wers and other factors would need to be analyzed. Then, decisions
would need to be made as to what changes, if any, were necessary in
current marketing practices.

In the remainder of this report various points which merit consid-
eration not only by individual gladiolus producers but also by the in-
dustry as a whole for the purpose of improving marketing practices will
be discussed briefly.

These are:

1. PRODUCTION. The gladiolus grower produces
purpose of satisfying wants and desires of
consumer demands are reflected back to the
ket, often characterized as a phase of the
process. The grower who produces what the
regard to varieties, grades and quantities
paid for his efforts.

flowers for the
consumers. These
grower by the mar-
overall production
consumer wants with
is usually well re-

2. AVAILABILITY. Not only does the gladiolus grower need to sup-
ply the varieties and qualities demanded by consumers but such
flowers should be available for marketing when demand is high
and prices are favorable.

3. HARVESTING. Flowers must be harvested in a manner which will
preserve the qualities most desired by the market.

It is possible that the production ad harvesting of spikes
in the middle or lower grades may offer -- now or in the future
-- more profitable returns to productive resources than those
of the top grade. Relative costs of producing each grade as
well as returns need to be considered.

4. GRADING. Grading is done for the purpose of establishing a
common language which both buyers and sellers understand and
use as a basis for judging the quality of a product. The use
of grades greatly facilitates long-distance buying and selling.
This is a first step in orderly marketing.

Clear and definite standards are indispensable
in the settlement of disputes between buyers and sel-
lers. They also make easier the settlement of claims
against transportation companies when it is necessary
to establish the value of a product before a fair ad-
justment can be made.

Standardized grades form the basis for market
news prices and are necessary to permit an intelli-
gent comparison of market prices.

Separation of products into various grades fur-
nishes a basis for growers to pool their products in
cooperative marketing associations in order that all
may share equitably in the season's sales.

More effective distribution...is permitted by
(grading]. Market demands vary in different locali-
ties and effective distribution consists in finding
the market that will give greatest return for the
grade of product offered for sale.

The desirability of standard grades as a basis
for advertising is plain in that advertising is with-
out meaning....unless backed up by products uniform-
ly graded and packed.

Finally, trading on the basis of quality is the
greatest stimulus to better methods of production and
marketing because it helps growers and shippers to
correct their mistakes. It assists them to obtain
proper remuneration by requiring them to adopt more

careful and effective methods of growing, packing
and marketing their produce and to eliminate waste
in handling. 2/

5. PACKAGING. This is needed to preserve quality and attract the
buyers. Packaging at wholesale attracts the retailer and, at
retail, the consumer. The Florida Gladiolus Growers Association
is experimenting with different type shipping cartons to deter-
mine which is the best. Research agencies can test consumer
acceptance of various packages at retail.

6. TRANSPORTATION. This means getting the product to market in
the best possible condition. The use of a refrigerated truck
to haul gladiolus assures more rapid delivery to certain mar-
kets. Air transport is used for last-minute holiday shipments.

7. SELLING. This should be considered at the wholesale, retail,
and consumer levels. It involves coordination of grades and
quantities on hand with demands of many individuals in many
places in a relatively short period of time.

8. DISTRIBUTION. This means getting an optimum amount of the pro-
duct to each location at the proper time and in a salable con-
dition, The practice of selling direct to retailers has widen-
ed distribution of flowers as have sales to chain and variety
stores. The use of refrigerated truck transportation permits
relatively greater and more timely distribution possibilities
than does railway express.

9. MERCHANDISING. Merchandising includes Special sales efforts
by the retailer to attract business, using color to attract
the consumer's eye, and other practices used in order to sell
more of the product for everybody's benefit. Some firms have
already had experience at holding special sales to dispose of
excessive supplies in retail florists' shops as well as in
chain store outlets. These sales, in addition to disposing of
larger quantities of flowers, may create demand for future pur-
chasing as a normal rather than a special occasion purchase
item. Advertising may be needed to make the public more flo-
wer conscious.

10. PRICES. No market, buyer or seller can operate without pri-
ces. They control not only how much the consumer, the retail-
er and the wholesaler buy but also how much the grower pro-
duces and, finally, how much he makes. The more knowledge
everyone has about price, the more efficiently the marketing
system will function. Prices and grades may be combined as

1~/Robert L. Spangler. Standardization ad Inspection of Fresh Fruits
and Vegetables (U. S. Department of Agriculture Misc. Pub. No, 6021).
Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1946. p. 2.

common denominators for comparing the relative efficiency of
various markets and market outlets.

11. TIFORMATION. A producer must know what other producers are
doing. A wholesaler must know how various crops are doing in
different areas and what the weather is. A retailer must know
whether prospects are for light or heavy supplies, whether he
should load up or wait for better prices.

A cooperative information clearing house at the present
time may well repay its cost many times over in better dis-
tribution and higher returns to gladiolus growers. Current
data are needed on production, market distribution and prices.
Seasonal data are desirable for appraising past and future mar-
keting practices and policies. The volume of daily shipments
and other agreed-upon information would be sent to a central
office. There it would be analyzed and an analysis of the
overall situation would in turn be supplied promptly to each

Statistics are absolutely essential to successful market-

12. LEGISLATION. This means marketing and grading laws in order
to prevent misrepresentation of the product at all levels.
These laws are usually designed to protect the individual.

One possibility which may be considered is that of making
the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act or a similar law
applicable to interstate marketing of flowers and ornamental
horticultural products. This Act, with regard to fruits and
vegetables, prohibits the making of incorrect accounting on
consignments, misrepresenting grade, quality or condition and
requires persons and firms licensed under the act to keep ac-
counts and records for two years that will adequately disclose
all transactions involved in the business. That wholesale
fruit and vegetable receivers are pleased with the law is noted
in the following statement made by D. W. Ward, General Manager
of the Philadelphia Terminal Marketing Association, when testi-
fying before a Committee of Congress concerning certain pro-
posed amendments to the P.A.C.A.

May I say at the outset that the approximately
100 receivers and jobbers for whom I speak are all
licensed under the Perishable Agricultural Commodi-
ties Act of 1930, that they all are subject to its
provisions, being engaged in interstate commerce, and
all are aware of and appreciative of the stabilizing
effect upon their somewhat hazardous business of the

Act of 1930 as amended.1l/

13. THE CONSUMER. She is the final and ultimate end of marketing.
She holds the purse strings and does the buying or controls it.
More research efforts may be needed to find more about what the
consumer wants. These wants must be catered to and perhaps

I_/U. S. Congress, House Committee on Agriculture. Hearings on Mar-
keting of Perishable Agricultural Products, Hay 26 and 27, 1955-Serial
T). Wasiington: U. S. Government Printing Ofice, 195. p.-T76.

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