Aphrodite Orchidee started out over 80 years ago as a vegetable and rose grower but since 1970 the family business has been exclusively cultivating orchids. Initially cymbidiums, before these were finally replaced by Phalaenopsis in the year 2000. Sustainability is of particular importance, emphasises Martin van Weerdenburg, who now represents the third generation within the company.

Since the year 2000, Aphrodite Orchidee has been producing pot-grown Phalaenopsis plants at a site close to Schiphol Airport and Royal FloraHolland. This means that the grower is, quite literally, in almost direct contact with sales and consumers. Contact with consumers is important in the company philosophy too.

Martin van Weerdenburg

Supply is aligned to demand
This approach yields success, explains Van Weerdenburg. “Sales of our product are doing well. This is partly because we fully tailor our assortment to the market. We offer products with added value, i.e., including a special pot or in an arrangement. Consumers appreciate this.”

A specific product that still needs additional promotion is sustainable packaging in the ECO line. “This is proving a little more challenging because retailers are not yet ready to make the switch from plastic for presentation purposes. It can also be a challenge to prevent damage to the product during transport without any plastic packaging. Bringing about a change here requires cooperation with retailers.”

‘Reducing’ the greenhouse using screens
Aside from this challenge, fortunately a lot is going very well in terms of sustainability. For instance, Aphrodite makes great use of biological crop protection and water and fertilisers are recirculated. “We’re also trying to reduce our energy costs, for example by replacing screens with ones that offer improved insulation – the so-called energy screen – and by hanging extra screens. When we close those, the greenhouse is ‘reduced in size’ as it were. We then have a lower number of cubic metres in the greenhouse to cool or heat, thus lowering energy usage.”

All possible MPS certifications
This focus on sustainability is also reflected in the array of MPS certificates the company holds. “We have virtually every possible MPS certification applicable to our company. MPS-A, MPS-GAP, MPS-SQ, MPS-Q and MPS-ProductProof,” lists Van Weerdenburg.

Working with these different certificates is now a matter of course. “We’ve been working with MPS for a long time already, so all we have to do now is keep up with everything. MPS also sends regular updates regarding certification, so it’s just a matter of taking a look at what needs to be adjusted and then we can continue. And if we ever have a question, we can always call. This way we get the clear answers that will help us stay on track.”