Scotts shows off "unique" research and new product development

Scotts Miracle Gro has held an open day at its Levington Research Station near Ipswich to emphasise its R&D credentials in the face of what it claims are a plethora of copycat products.

Some of Scotts' product range - image:HW
Some of Scotts' product range - image:HW
More than a dozen Patch Magic-inspired products were on display, with Scotts researchers showing tests of its grass seed product's superiority to over a dozen similar products launched across Europe after Patch Magic's 2010 launch, including Patch Fix, Aftercut Patch Fix and Patch Perfect.

Patch Magic now has the top five GfK rankings in the lawn seed product category, with its 2012 product Patch Magic Dog Spot Repair fifth. Patch Magic has 27 per cent of the £15 million category market - around £4 million sales a year.

Scotts also revealed trials of its newly launched Flower Magic, described by new product development manager Elaine Gotts as a "blockbuster innovation".

Westland has already interpreted this new flower seed/coir/fertiliser sprinkler product into its own packeted version, for launch at Glee on September 17.

Scotts, which will also officially launch at Glee, expects similar sales to Patch Magic of the £12.99 sprinkler product - around £4m a year.

Sales of Expand 'n Gro were £1m in the first year, with the product tenth in the GfK branded growing media chart. A new 8 litre £5.99 bag launches at Glee. Scotts will also launch a set of 11 straight fertilisers at Glee under the Miracle Gro brand.

Scotts took over the 7.5ha Levington station in 1997.

It runs 120 trials a year there against competitors, in addition to its R&D in the US, France and Australia. R&D manager Deirdre Charleston said it was "unique to have so many different facilities and purpose-built R&D".

Scotts' sales are 14 per cent down this season, which the company said was typical of the market in a poor weather season.

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