The results of an HDC-sponsored project on whether consumers would buy plants branded as locally grown were presented at last week’s Southern Growers show.
Project leader and grower Bill Godfrey explained the impetus for the research was to promote British plant nurseries in the face of increasing competition from abroad and to tap into increased interest in locally produced food.
The project has produced a logo which can be used to brand plants as grown at a British nursery, often in the local area. The accompanying leaflet explains the benefits that locally produced plants can provide including reduced plant miles, support for the local economy and reduced risk of imported pests and diseases.
Market research measuring customer response to plants displayed with Home Grown stickers produced positive results. Impetus marketing director Stephen Sands said the response was “possibly the most positive reaction I have ever seen”.
He said: “We tested at four sites in Surrey and Sussex and conducted interviews with 56 customers. We displayed a set of plants labelled with the Home Grown stickers and a control set without labels.” Sales of the Home Grown labelled plants were 16 per cent higher than the control plants.
Some customers were confused by the Home Grown message, believing that plants had been grown on the premises. Sands said the Home Grown tag can be adapted to include exactly where in Britain the plant was grown.
Godfrey described how growers are already independently labelling plants as locally or British grown. But he told the Southern Growers show seminar, chaired by HW editor Kate Lowe, that UK growers would have a more powerful brand if they all used the Home Grown label.
Project partner Morris May stressed that interest from larger British growers was needed to take the project further. The research team will now apply to the HDC to fund a CD-ROM of the Home Grown artwork, which could be made available to levy payers.
The project was supported by South East England Development Agency and NFU South East.
* For details call 01276 471757
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