The MPS Customer Panel took place on Wednesday 29 January during the IPM Essen, with participants from many countries taking part. Although MPS regularly organises customer panels, this was the first time that customers from all over the world were present at the same time. Thirty parties participated in the customer panel: from growers and traders to retailers, certification bodies and other stakeholders.

Customer panels are important to us. They are an excellent way for us to keep in touch with our customers and other interested parties and enable us to provide everyone with an update on our latest innovations. Additionally, these panels give us an opportunity to receive feedback that we can use to continue to improve our services.

During the customer panel at IPM Essen, Martine Holtkamp (Product Development Manager) presented the amended MPS-ABC scheme. The updated scheme was well received, and there was plenty of feedback. One point of attention for the revised scheme (which takes effect in early 2021) is that producers of starting material have asked for a practical solution for recording data at crop level in the updated record-keeping tool.

In addition to the update on the new MPS-ABC scheme, Harold Beek (Deputy Director) gave a presentation on the HortiFootprint. The HortiFootprint is an evolving, internationally accepted standard method for the horticulture sector to calculate the environmental impact of the cultivation of plants and flowers. MPS is collaborating with other parties to develop this footprint. Beek also explained that MPS is currently developing a software module, based on the calculation rules of the HortiFootprint and MPS-ABC registration, that can be used to calculate the environmental impact. Producers will receive interactive overviews of their results which they can compile according to their own needs. The results from the module also provide a great deal of insight into the areas where further sustainability can be achieved.

The most important question for the customer panel participants was how we can best provide our participants and, for example, the retail sector with the necessary feedback based on the ‘mountain’ of information we’ll receive. This was followed by an extensive brainstorming session, which yielded plenty of useful input that we will take into account in the further development of the module.

The international MPS customer panel was a roaring success and definitely worth repeating. We intend to organise this every year during the IPM in Essen. If you would like us to keep you informed about this or if you would like further information about other MPS Customer Panels throughout the year, please email us at