Home Grown chairman Andy Wroe is developing a market research trial to gain hard evidence on whether home-grown bedding sells better than unbranded product. "The idea is to get more garden centres telling nurseries they want to buy plants that are home-grown," he explained.
"We had a market research trial a few years ago in a garden centre with a bench of poinsettia without the Home Grown logo and one with the logo, and we want to repeat that this year to see what sells. We need to get evidence that it will increase sales so we can present a good case."
Former BPOA chairman Ian Riggs said the original retail sales study was carried out in the spring and summer of 2007 across four garden centre sites. The trial, designed by Impetus Marketing, showed that packs and plants carrying the Home Grown logo outsold non-Home Grown labelled plants by 16 per cent.
He added: "The plan to duplicate the original Home Grown label retail trial is very welcome and hopefully the results will again demonstrate a sales uplift from the incorporation of the Home Grown brand. Home Grown remains the only scheme that is national, defined, audited and recognised."
Wroe, who is moving from Bulrush to Floramedia in May, said the euro has been against UK growers but: "We want to flag that the quality is better and about reduced plant miles. Ideally we want more garden centres shouting about promoting local and home-grown and my role as chairman is to put together facts and figures like with Red Tractor and supermarkets so it is recognised by people who will buy more of it."
The Home Grown scheme will also have a display garden at the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate (12-14 July), showcasing local growers from the county. It is also running retailer, garden centre and grower of the year awards that will be announced in the summer.
NFU horticulture adviser Amy Gray said the public need to know which plants are home-grown. She added that despite an emphasis on edibles provenance there is "no standardised way" of identifying the provenance of ornamentals so Home-grown is important to give consumers' confidence that plants are raised in this country.
Many consumers would be surprised to know how many plants are imported into the UK, said Gray. Latest Defra figures show that half of plants sold in the UK are imported, while just five per cent of UK-grown plants are exported.
Home Grown - The beginnings and development of the initiative
Bill Godfrey and Morris May created the Home Grown initiative almost a decade ago, supported by £10,000 from the HDC and the South East Development Agency. The British Protected Ornamentals Association took over the scheme in 2009 and developed the marketing and auditing. In 2014 the association formed the Home Grown Users Group to co-ordinate the scheme.