Customer demand for wild bird feed has driven sales from £30m in 2000 to over £150m — and it shows no sign of abating. Garden centres have experienced ongoing demand in recent years from customers wanting seed to feed birds in their gardens and new seed recipes and feeders are regularly released. Scotsdale managing director Caroline Owen said bird food was a big seller for the Cambridge garden centre and had grown from a September-to-February product to one sold throughout the year. She said demand had been helped by TV programmes but thinks it is more because “people like feeding birds”. The store has a popular live video feed from a blue tits’ nesting box running in the store. Marketing director John Stratford of wild bird feed supplier Gardman said sales in garden centres had grown “enormously”. Gardman’s bird feed sales have risen from a “few million” to about £24m, generating 40 per cent of the company’s revenue, and are not slowing. Sales for the past 12 months were up 40 per cent compared with the previous 12 months. Stratford said: “Retailers are doing extremely well out of it because there aren’t too many product categories, giving them good percentage growth figures.” He said people fed birds for various reasons, including the entertainment and companionship they provided and environmental interest, but he agreed nature-focused TV shows had boosted interest. * Popular TV ornithologist Bill Oddie has launched his own range of bird food recipes, manufactured by Haith’s.
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