Plant Breeding: From Concept to Commercial

Dr. Laura Masor joins us for this episode of STEM: Insider Tips for Greenhouse Pros. Laura is a plant breeder AND product manager for Ball FloraPlant. She currently breeds some of the hottest vegetative crops on the market – Calibrachoa, Angelonia and Verbena. You’re probably aware that a lot of breeding goes on behind the scenes in floriculture – seeing hundreds of new varieties coming to market each year but I’m fairly sure you don’t know everything that goes into it. From brainstorming the design of a new product, to gathering plant materials used to make crosses, to trialing in different environments and then rolling out the product to greenhouse growers around the world, there’s a complex pipeline involved. And Laura manages products all the way through – essentially doing two jobs as breeder and product manager. In this episode, she’s going to take us through the entire process using terms we all can understand but also digging into the details and getting technical to inform us how and why plant breeders are not only scientists but also magicians. And by the end of this discussion, I know you will place even more value on breeding as a critical piece of the floriculture puzzle – and you’ll have a better understanding of Plant Breeding: From Concept to Commercial.

NOTE: Petunia Headliner Night Sky from Selecta One is incorrectly referred to as “Starry Night” during the show.

Here is the presentation I referenced at the end of the podcast. Feel free to share with your team to help explain the plant breeding pipeline that brings new innovations to market in our industry.

Presentation – Plant Breeding: From Concept to Commercial:

Ball FloraPlant Products (including the ones Laura mentioned):

Selecta One Products:

In this episode’s Connect Four, I pulled four trends from an article that ran in Retail Leader, March 2018. First, what the author calls Conversational Commerce and what the tech industry calls VEC – Voice Enabled Commerce. Between Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home device more than 25% of American homes have smart speakers and in the next five years, that number is expected to be 65%. Consumers are becoming more and more used to the experience and getting better at articulating needs for products and services. How long until the act of making a paper list and visiting a store to pick from the shelf becomes archaic is the subject of countless articles.

Next, the rapid emergence of Direct to Consumer sales, the DTC shift. There’s a lot of growth in this model these days and it makes sense to Troy. Shoppers want instant gratification and expect products to be available everywhere, at any time. Today’s consumer expects to buy when THEY choose, not when a traditional retailer or consumer goods company wants to allow them to do so. DTC enables brands to satisfy customers immediately and with products that don’t necessarily have the mass appeal and brand cache required to get them on a retail shelf.

Third, the Redefinition of Brands and brand building. Historically, brands have stood for trust, quality and making shopping decisions easier. But over the past few decades, these basic tenets have been eroded.

Last but not least is Experience. Even in lawn and garden, we talk a lot about the customer experience and the retail experience. The author says compelling shopping environments can be a retailer’s antidote to the threat of e-commerce. But this may be changing somewhat as shoppers begin to move away from “stuff”. This is true for younger consumers who care less about what they own than where they are and who they’re with. It’s also true for older generations entering a downsizing and decluttering phase, according to the author.

Connect Four Article Link (with five more trends!) – Where Tomorrow’s Shoppers are Heading:

Contact Links:

Email Guest Dr. Laura Masor: [email protected]

Email Host Bill Calkins: [email protected]

Tweet Host Bill Calkins: @billcalkins

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