Pioneer of the flower and plant industry wins Fresh Awards 2019 Lifetime Achievement

Congratulations to Leon Eijgenraam, winner of the Fresh Awards 2019 Lifetime Achievement sponsored by Greencell.

The son of a nurseryman, Leon grew up in the Sion district of Delft where he stared in business in 1979 and formed Sion Plant bv. He was the first person to develop the flower market for Marks and Spencer’s back in 1985, followed soon after by Tesco. By the early 90s his company was the largest supplier of flowers and plants to the UK with one in three of all pot plants sold in the UK being supplied by them.

In 1987 his achievements were recognised when he received the Anglo Dutch Award for Enterprise. By 1989 the flower and plant business was split with the formation of Sion Flowers bv and the two companies merged with what was then the Van Duijn Group which later became the Dutch Flower Group, eventually selling out to the group in 1996.

Leon set up Hortic Express which later became Zyon UK and a buying operation in Holland called Zyon Group bv. This business soon grew, becoming the main horticultural supplier to the Swiss COOP and through his dealings with Tesco one of the main suppliers to Tesco eastern Europe.

His achievements were once again recognised in 2015 when Zyon UK won Multiple Floral Supplier of the Year at the FPC Awards.

“Leon’s pioneering spirit and forward thinking has shaped the flower and plant industry in the UK as we know it today,” commented Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium. We’re delighted to recognise his fantastic achievements over 40 years.”

The Fresh Award 2019 Lifetime Achievement was presented by Greencell at the gala evening, hosted by Graeme Swann, former English international cricketer at The Pavilion, The Tower of London on Thursday 6 June 2019.