Marketing genetically modified organism carnations by future floral designers: Student-designed policy formulation

Neil O. Anderson, Natalie J. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Genetically modified organism (GMO) crops provide new trait(s) that may benefit floral designers and consumers. A limited array of GMO cut flower cultivars exist in the floral markets worldwide: nine carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) and one rose (Rosa ×hybrida). Labeling GMO flowers in the United States is not required. Thus, most distributors, flower auctions, brokers, wholesalers, floral designers and consumers are not aware that they exist. To test the acceptance of GMO cut flowers with potential future floral designers, n = 121 students enrolled in Floral Design (HORT 1013) at the University of Minnesota during 2005-07, 2009, and 2011, designed with standard and miniature GMO Moon™ series carnations. Each student created a Hogarth design with both types of carnations and assembled a price sheet. Students examined the differences between GMO lavender/purple carnations and those created with classic methods of spraying, dipping, or infusion. In 2009 only, students were also assigned to write a marketing paragraph about their GMO floral design. Each year, students were given an identical question on a subsequent midterm examination to determine their position on GMO cut flowers, including development of a floral shop policy to inform customers. Student examination responses ranged from not carrying GMO products [1/121 (0.8% response)], offering GMO/non-GMO carnation options to the consumer [81/121 (66.9% response)], or only selling only GMOs [33/121 (27.3% response)] that differed significantly from a 1:1:1 chi-square (x2). A significant majority of students would inform their customers of the GMO crops [89/121 (73.6% response)]. In several instances, consumers were not to be informed of the GMO nature unless they queried about the higher price point. Similarly, marketing paragraphs did not uniformly highlight the GMO nature of the flowers. Implications for the next generation of floral designers demonstrate that, with the exception of students in 2005-06, most would sell both GMO and non-GMO flowers with a majority of shops clearly identifying GMOs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-688
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013


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