Neame Lea Nursery and Zyon UK are to work together to provide a "one-stop shop" of UK and traded plants as well as added-value product, demonstrating how consolidation is affecting the plant supply market.
Zyon UK is a leading supplier and packer of plants and flowers to UK supermarkets, DIY chains and garden centre groups. Spalding-based nursery Neame Lea is one of the UK's largest ornamental plant producers, growing a range of indoor and outdoor products supplied to UK customers.
A new deal will allow Zyon UK to exclusively market Neame Lea's ornamental plant production, enabling customers to "efficiently source both UK and European plants, flowers and added value from one point of contact".
The move will give a combined UK turnover of £35m in addition to the Zyon Group's EUR50m turnover in Europe. It will produce the largest grower-packer operation in the UK and will ensure that Zyon UK is "strategically placed to manage the current changing economic and political environment within the industry while being supported by one of the largest UK ornamental plant producers", according to the group.
The office and packing facilities of Zyon UK will relocate adjacent to the Neame Lea site on Horseshoe Road, Spalding, consolidating both businesses in a single site location.
Zyon UK managing director Justin Solly said: "In the last four or five years we've been building the business based on added value and design, and a lot of traded goods with our business in Holland. We have been working with UK growers but a lot of UK growers go direct and we wanted to be able to offer our customers the whole package - a wide range of customers and a wide range of product. We'll be working with Neame Lea, which is probably seeing the most investment in the nursery business in the UK."
The deal will see Neame Lea-grown plants designed into added-value product in the UK to make a more efficient supply chain. With sterling weakening against the euro after the 23 June referendum, Solly added: "This is timely. We've been here before with exchange rates. UK-grown product will see an uplift so the timing is good for that.
"Traded product is always going to be important. This gives us much more variety and an opportunity for us to do both. In Holland, Zyon has access direct to growers and not via agents, and put together with UK-grown you get business from both areas."
With much consolidation going on in the industry, the businesses are trying stop prices going up by cutting costs in the supply chain, through working together. Competition is traded plants from Holland for UK growers, so the partnership helps combat that. Zyon has two production sites in Holland and is strong on traded product. The company has lacked a UK-grown offer so this deal allows a one-stop shop to be created as many retailers increasingly seek to source from fewer suppliers for simplicity and value's sake.
In particular, Neame Lea's expertise in bedding and pot-grown bedding will help broaden Zyon's range. Zyon UK supplies big retailers such as Morrisons, Wyevale, Lidl, Dobbies and Homebase, as well as flowers to convenience stores. Neame Lea will continue to supply its retailers, including Tesco. Zyon is owned by Leon Eijgenraam.
A new Neame Lea/Zyon UK plant range called "Enjoy Your Garden" will launch at the Four Oaks Trade Show on 6-7 September (see p33). The products, grown by Neame Lea and marketed by Zyon UK, include bedding, perennials, shrubs, herbs and vegetables plants - the full outdoor garden range. Hortipak is supplying the labels.
Neame Lea was recently involved in the British Protected Ornamentals Association and Home Grown Users Group Home Grown Retail Award for promotion and support of UK-grown plants and flowers. The award went to Grace Hurrell of Tesco for the chain's consistent support and promotion of British-grown bedding.
The grower recently completed a 40,000sq m expansion to 42 acres. It plans to continue investing £1m a year in new equipment and facilities.
LEADING PLANT SUPPLIERS AND GROWERS BY ANNUAL TURNOVER
1 Newey Group c£40m
2 Neame Lea/Zyon UK £36m
3 Butters £31.5m
4 Ball Colegrave £25.316m
5 Coletta & Tyson £22.75m
6 Double H £21.98m
7 Farplants £19m