Scotts is launching a Levington Essentials range at Glee (12-14 September) to match rivals in the competitively priced market. General manager Sheila Hill said 2015 saw record orders at the show. The focus this year is on Scotts' brand heritage with Tomorite, Levington and Weedol brands; edible gardening with more Groable product launches; and lawn care, with Evergreen three-in-one super seed for low temperatures.
Hill said Levington Essentials will be a basic range to add to the better Miracle-Gro and best Levington ranges, and will be 20 per cent cheaper at £3.99 for 50-litre composts.
Groables seed pods sold 500,000 in their first year and Hill said they could have sold one-million had more been available. Squash, another tomato and herbs will add to the range this year. Groable salads are a Patch Magic-style 250g product with coir, feed and salad seeds to produce 14 bags of cut-and-come-again salad for £5. PotShots are also aimed at the urban gardener.
Hill said the industry has "settled" since Glee 2015, when Scotts' purchase of Solus and subsequent dropping of its brands (apart from Chapelwood bird care) left garden centres looking for new suppliers and wholesalers.
Chapelwood "expectations were higher than what we achieved" in the mild winter, which she said led to overall wild bird care being "double-digit" figures down on 2014-15. Hill stressed that Scotts remains committed to the brand.
The "peat-free journey" is continuing with the Growing Media Association's sustainability calculator now at the heart of the debate.
On Scotts-distributed strategic partner brand Roundup, Hill said the product will remain "the strongest brand in the category" even if glyphosate is banned. "It's market leader by a long shot, she added. "I don't consider the future of the brand is uncertain, though the future of glyphosate is uncertain. The EU committee has not made a decision and has given an 18-month extension. It's about working with that."
She said Scotts' research and development has "innovation in the pipeline" and a future Roundup may not include glyphosate at all. New Roundup products for Glee include Path & Drive and TOUGH weed products as well as a wand applicator. Hill said new Black Magic urban gardening products are "inspired by hydroponics" and exclusively distributed by Scotts from Hawthorne Gardening. The compost and fertiliser are aimed at a "premium" market and will be "reassuringly expensive", she added.
Rival Westland will also launch a series of new products for Glee, with organic and natural feeds and weeds, pet food and a novel ground cover product heading product development. Westland SafeLawn is an organic fertiliser and lawn seed. Westland research found 84 per cent of gardeners do not use lawn feed.
New Horizon will have a fresh look and improved formula for 2017 to tap into the trend for those seeking a more natural approach to gardening. New Horizon Multi-Purpose Compost has the addition of worm cast compost, adding extra trace elements and naturally occurring microbes. New for 2017 is New Horizon All-Round Fertiliser. Resolva Natural Power Insect Control works by physical action, preventing insects, pests, mites and mildew from infesting plants.
Gro-Sure is to return to television, while Gro-Sure Smart Seed next-generation lawn seed held on to its number-one spot for a second year running, according to the GfK Lawn Seed Hitlist of May 2016. Gro-Sure Rose & Shrub Food is new, while Gro-Sure Smart Ground Cover is a protective and decorative natural mulch. The wood fibre product is designed to be "better than bark" at delivering weed-free, neat and tidy borders.
Unwins Seeds is teaming up with Delicious magazine and Emma Bridgewater. The Unwins Sweet Pea range will be available in new updated packaging with in-store merchandising opportunities based on colour combinations. The link with earthenware designer Emma Bridgewater will see consumers offered a bespoke Unwins Sweet Pea vase. Meanwhile, the Unwins Bursting With Flavour range offers a bespoke Unwins Delicious Kitchen Garden magazine.
Peckish Natural Balance is a new bird food, with the brand having delivered a £2m increase in sales (estimated from GfK wild bird care panel market report - February 2016, EPOS retail sales panel, Qlikview).
Westland has ventured into the pet sector for the first time with the launch of its new small-animal food collection, under the Nature's Feast brand. The collection features a range of food, treats and hay for rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters. Westland said it is a £72m market opportunity.
Latest products set to join the market at trade show
- Sipcam UK's Ecofective weeds, feeds and controls.
- Westland Gro-Sure Smart Ground Cover.
- Westland SafeLawn, New Horizon and Resolva natural products.
- Westland Nature's Feast brand pet food.
- Scotts Black Magic urban range.
- Scotts Levington Essentials.
- Gardman season extender wild bird care.
- Bonnington's rebrand.
- Fiskars PowerGear X range.
- Burgon & Ball RHS-endorsed hand tools.
- Town & Country children's gloves.
- Roundup wand and product ranges - Roundup TOTAL, Roundup TOUGH and Roundup PATH.