The Flower Import Trade Association

Viva! Colombian flowers at their best

The Flower Import Trade Association (FITA) is probably one of the most powerful flower groups in the UK. Made up of the 15 top UK importers, sourcing flowers from around the world, the group has focused their energies and financial resources on promoting Colombian flowers as the first choice for florists and volume buyers.

Formed some 20 years ago with the aim of sharing information and logistical strengths, one of their key achievements in the early years was the introduction of dedicated charter flights out of Bogotá. Working mainly with Martinair and Southlands, the direct to London charters not only give the quickest response times but allow importers to increase capacity to cope with peak demand and ensure flowers arrive in the best condition.

More recently FITA has commissioned considerable research and development of an industry standard for the Government's packaging waste scheme whereby importers, and those involved in the distribution of flowers, have to be responsible for the cost of recycling or face hefty penalties.

One of the biggest initiatives has been the ongoing promotional activity. Initially designed to promote Carnations, the campaign has evolved into a generic Colombian campaign which showcases the breadth of flowers now available from the world's second largest producing nation and exclusively promotes the key importers and wholesalers who sell them.

"While we get a small contribution from Ascolflores, the Colombian flower growers association, the bulk of the campaign is totally financed by FITA members and their specific growers by way of a voluntary levy. Given the small budgets we have, we achieve a hell of a lot.... in terms of 'hits' we reach every florist and wholesaler in the UK at least 8 times per year. Its a drop in the ocean compared with, say the Dutch budgets, but FITA is the only player in the UK market to do any form of product promotion for flowers and it certainly seems to be working"

J&E Page is a founder member of FITA.

Text taken from an article in the September 2003 issue of Florist & Wholesale Buyer magazine.



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