Quality and economics analysis of dry flower products
Keywords:Dry flower products, eco-friendly, economics, quality, shelf life
Fresh flowers have an important role in our daily life, but despite of using several preservatives, its vase life is limited to few days only. For enjoying the enhanced beauty of flowers, dry flowers and its products are only the substitute. Indian dry flower industry is endued with huge untapped potential in terms of diverse climate, availability of innumerous wild genotypes, creative minds and low labour cost. Eco- friendly dry flower products made for temperate countries of high snowfall, would give new arena to dry flower business. Flowers with high shelf life when dried with correct drying method would help in less natural colour deterioration, thus fetching higher prices in national and international dry flower markets. Dry flower product has more benefit cost ratio and its economics varies depending on input cost, selling price, finishing, covering material and shelf life of product. Planting material with high shelf life of more than five years (paper flower, statice, Gomphrena, rose, Aparajita, larkspur, sun flower, verbena, mussaenda, Ixora, helichrysum and zinnia) when utilized for making dry flower products yielded quality produce with durable presentability. When dry flower products were laminated or covered with polyethylene, transparency sheet, cello tape, glass and plastic frames, then the products with lamination and cello tape covering showed no insectpest and fungal infestation with best physical integrity and natural colour retention. For most of the 2-D products like coasters, greeting card, bookmark and photo frames, covering through lamination was found best followed by cello tape covering, whereas in case of sceneries laminated glass frames gave the best result. For 3-D products like pen stand, cello-tape covering followed by plastic sheet cover was found best in terms of shelf life and quality. Over the existing unpacked or low quality packaging material, there was the difference of Rs. 2.00 only for book mark and pen stand, whereas a maximum difference of Rs. 10.00 was calculated for products like sceneries, coaster set and greeting cards. For simple and finely designed sceneries the production cost per piece ranged from Rs. 92.50 to 368.00 and Rs. 555.00 to 847.00, respectively. With improved packaging technology, the dry flower products were qualitative superior with at least five times higher shelf life and comparatively more natural flower colour retention than the existing products in the market. Thus, qualitative superior diverse dry flower products can be produced which has more chances to enter export market with higher returns. The technology is novel with reasonable cost and with lesser time consumption than the existing ones.