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Opening New Markets - Edible Flowers

Floral flavours are the number one consumer food trend for 2018 according to Whole Foods
Market. For years, professional chefs have been using edible flowers as garnishes or to give
dishes a signature flavour and consumers are now seeking new culinary experiences at home
and experimenting with unconventional ingredients. In partnership with Freeman Herbs,
Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) has been investigating consumer preference
for edible flower varieties for positioning in the marketplace.

Edible flowers are surging in popularity as evidenced through research conducted by
Alexandra Grygorczyk, PhD, Vineland’s Research Scientist, Consumer Insights.

“In 2015, we surveyed consumers on their preference for edible garden plants
(strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries) and also included an edible flower option
in the study,” said Grygorczyk. “We found 35 per cent of respondents were highly interested
in edible flowers and would prefer purchasing edible flowers for their garden over more
traditional plants such as strawberries and raspberries.”

Freeman Herbs, a Beamsville, ON-based grower and distributor of fresh herbs in
Canada, partnered with Vineland in 2017 to gain a better understanding of the edible
flowers’ market. Following Freeman Herbs’ production trials on over 25 types of
edible flowers screening for ease of production, blooming and compact shape for
container production, 10 plants were selected for profiling by Vineland’s trained
sensory panel and more than 200 Greater Toronto Area consumers.

“We were able to segment consumers in two groups: the bold flavour fans (56 per
cent) favouring strong aromas and spicy tastes; and the smooth texture lovers (44
per cent) preferring smooth textured and subtly flavoured flowers,” said Grygorczyk.
Results also showed edible flowers such as nasturtium and candy pop mint should be
marketed to the bold flavour fan group while impatiens and dianthus are of interest
to smooth texture lovers.

“These research findings have been instrumental in outlining our business plan to
expand into the potted edible flowers market,” said Jeff Nickerson, General Manager,
Freeman Herbs. Freeman Herbs will be launching edible flowers in four-inch pots in the
produce aisle in 2019.

What’s next? Freeman Herbs is now focusing on an effective strategy for product
positioning informed by an upcoming consumer survey Vineland will launch this
summer. 

Source : vinelandresearch