UK firms praise French show with growing global profile

Salon du Vegetal paves way for UK moves into French market

UK exhibitors returned home at the weekend with heavy order books after a successful week at France’s premier horticultural trade show. Salon du Végétal opened its doors to an estimated 17,000 professional visitors on 16-18 February at the Parc des Expositions, Angers, France, all eager to see the latest developments in French and worldwide horticulture. This year’s show was comparable with Amsterdam’s HortiFair in terms of international feel, with 612 exhibitors from 18 countries, including first-time exhibitors from countries including Mexico, China, Senegal and Brazil. Representation from Germany was notably down on 2004 and Belgian exhibitors were down by as much as a third. There was a general feeling from UK exhibitors, whose numbers have remained steady in recent years, that being at the show would prove positive. Owner Caroline Whetman of Dawlish-based Whetman Pinks said: “The show is a good chance to see customers from all over France in one place. Some 18 per cent of our product is exported to France, so it’s an important market for us.” There was a feeling that the French market was “for the taking”. Commercial Horticultural Association export promoter Peter Grimbly said: “We come here because it’s a well-targeted show and there is a feeling among UK businesses that the French market is easier to break than others in Europe.”

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