In the past year, Holex has researched packing methods for Dutch-grown Hydrangeas, in order to improve our way of packing quality-wise, and also to make it more sustainable. We have trialed packing various amounts of stems, various ways of packing the stems and flowers, with various materials, and also various ways of adding water to the stems for transport. Besides this, during our Dutch-grown Hydrangea research, we have also researched what’s the best cooling method before shipment.
Unchanged: Bunches per Five Stems
One of our conclusions was that we keep packing Dutch Hydrangeas per bunch of five stems. This is also how the products are prepared at the growers. Keeping the number of stems per bunch unmodified means less handling (at the Holex facility, and at our customers) and thus less damaging risk. The lesser flowers are “touched”, the better it is for overall product quality.
No Foil; Paper per Box Instead of per Bunch
We also decided to stop with rolling each bunch into paper. From now on, paper is put into the bottom box, the bunches are packed in the box, and the paper is fold over the top of the bunches. We discovered that there is no significant change in product quality after arrival, when less paper is used. There is, on the other hand, a significant difference in the use of the amount of paper. Since Holex has improving sustainability as a main priority for the coming years, we are happy to conclude that we can use less material with the same product quality result.
We have tested the usage of foil, instead of paper. The testing results varied in such a way, that we concluded that using foil for Dutch-grown Hydrangeas is too risky regarding botrytis. When shipments are transported to destinations with higher temperatures, it can happen that the flowers are heated too much, which causes botrytis. An additional fact is also that we at Holex try to limit the usage of plastics as much as possible, so it would make no sense to start using extra foil to pack our products.
Use of Porto Ensures A Better Vase-Life
If you have ordered Dutch-grown Hydrangeas at Holex before, you know that the stems of each bunch is put in a small plastic container that is filled with pieces of foam, which are soaked in water. This is what we call a ‘porto’. Since we try to lower our plastics usage, it was a no-brainer to research other packing options.
In cooperation with FlowerWatch, we have trialed to send Hydrangeas without porto, but the results were dramatic. For Holex trustworthy product quality is of paramount importance, and shipping Dutch-grown Hydrangeas without any form of hydration simply lowers product quality in such a way, that it does not fit into the Holex way of operating.
Another option we researched was the use of a foil bag, which was also filled with foam pieces soaked in water. The conclusion regarding product quality was positive: the use of foil bags during transport results in the same level of product quality after arrival compared to the use of portos. But we also concluded that there is way more handling in putting the foil bags around the stems, compared to using portos. It’s simply not profitable, both on Holex’s side as on the client’s side.
Dutch-Grown Hydrangea Research: Pre-Cooling Instead of Vacuum-Cooling before Shipment
As you might know, Holex has an in-house vacuum cooler, which is quite unique for a Dutch exporting company. In the past years, our Quality Control and Expedition teams have researched and trialed the ‘perfect cooling recipe’ for every product that Holex ships. For more information about this, read our story about cooling and degree hours over here.
And, of course, also they have elaborately tested the cooling methods for one of our most popular items: Dutch-grown Hydrangeas. Where for most of the items that Holex exports, the quality results after vacuum cooling were great; for the domestic Hydrangeas results differed each and every time. That is why we have concluded that no vacuum cooling, but only pre-cooling for Dutch-grown Hydrangeas, is the best cooling recipe.
Packed in Light-Green Holex Boxes
Probably you are familiar with the Holland Hydrangea boxes, which Holex has used for quite a while to transport Dutch-grown Hydrangeas. But you are also familiar with the light-green Holex boxes, that we use for all our other products. These light-green boxes are designed by our in-house professionals, to meet all Holex requirements. They perfectly fit on an airplane skid, and air holes are placed in such a way, that build-up skids can be pre-cooled in the best way. Also, the heights of the boxes are perfectly matched to the wide range of products that Holex ships, and price/quality-wise the most interesting amount of stems per box. We decided to pack the Dutch-grown Hydrangeas from now on also in the light-green Holex boxes, to guarantee the best possible product quality.
Dutch-grown Hydrangeas in The Holex Webshop
When you log into the Holex webshop, visit the Holland webshop department to discover all Dutch-grown Hydrangea offerings. If you have any questions regarding our Hydrangea offerings, contact your Holex Account Manager. Not a Holex customer yet? Contact us!