Supermarkets would significantly boost their flower sales if they followed Morrisons' lead in selling more bouquets packed with lower-value flowers, a report has claimed.

Morrisons has outperformed the market in the past year with a 7% rise in cut flower sales and 12% growth on bouquets [Nielsen 52w/e 27 March].

The growth has been driven by an increased focus on full-bodied mixed bouquets, according to research by Insitas for supplier World Flowers, which has upped the proportion of mixed bouquets it sells from 30% six months ago to 36%.

"It's about perception of value," said Marie Powell, category manager at World Flowers. "Morrisons has done a lot of ads around the freshness and quality of its general offer, and its flowers benefit from association with that."

While other supermarkets were still putting more premium flowers such as roses into their bunches, Morrisons had produced affordable mixed bouquets packed with stems such as carnations and chrysanthemums to create an abundant, colourful bouquet, Powell said.

Morrisons had benefited from a general lack of consumer understanding of flowers, she added. "The British public are quite uneducated. They don't understand the difference between a gerbera and a carnation."

World Flowers, which supplies flowers to Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda, would look to develop more abundant mixed bouquets on the back of the research, she added. "We can grow the whole category."

However, the Flowers & Plants Association stressed that supermarkets should not adopt a 'one-size-fits-all' approach.

Supermarkets could also increase sales by giving consumers in-home display ideas, not selling flowers in draughty areas or near fruit and veg, and taking greater care over the condition of plants, said a spokeswoman.

Supermarket flower sales have grown 3% in the past year to £768m [Nielsen].