Have you noticed the growth in business for fruits and vegetables and want to get on board? Whether you’re new in the sector or an experienced horticultural farmer, there are three distinct ways to grow your business. Professionals offered innovative ways to market your fruits and vegetables at the international trade fair for plants in Germany, IPM ESSEN.
The Garden Center: Beauty Sells
“Be creative,” Raimund Schnecking, key account manager at from Volmary said during a conference on marketing. Volmary is an independent family business in the horticulture sector and a leading European plant breeding company. It also develops plant brand concepts for garden centers and food retailers.
The 2018 GMG Trends Report focuses on rebuilding mental wellness through nature, so it’s no wonder that we’re beginning to see the importance of plant presentation—a healthy plant in an elegant pot, for example. Volmary expressed the significance of growing your fruits and vegetables in beautiful plots like flowers in garden centers.
“Our goal is to make the industry move,” Daniel Kükenhöhner, from consulting & shop planning company Petzinger, said in a conference on healthy food. He focused on why retailers should consider selling fruits and vegetables in their garden centers: grow sales, gain new customers, change profile, add value for current customers…
“Acquiring new customers is a big challenge. Focusing on existing customers is easier.”
Daniel Kükenhöhner suggested retailers ask themselves what fits in with their current selection and shop image and to perform data analytics to target customers. Single households are different from families with children so it’s important to analyze all data collected.
“Don’t just collect data. Analyze it.”
Experimentation & Detailed Labeling
The organic issue is not a new trend, people just want organic, healthy food, according to Raimund Schnecking from Volmary. As consumers are seeking to deepen their knowledge of what they’re purchasing, opening the door to a new clientele, retailers and farmers should consider adding labels with detailed information about each plant.
You show esteem for your customers. Clients are becoming more educated in these areas and more interested in higher quality. Pay attention to seed segment, organic, plant protection system, region, sustainable fertilizer.
By adding a catchy label to the vegetable, explaining what it tastes like or how to cook it, for example. When selling soiled plants, explain or demonstrate how to keep the plant alive—i.e. how much sun or water is needed and the right temperature.
Daniel Kükenhöhner from Petzinger agreed that retailers and farmers should add transparency for their customers as to who supplied what. On the label, include information such as whether it’s organic, the region—show a map—etc.
Growers can acquire sustainability certifications through MPS, which also offers various courses in the field of certification, and allows clients visibility on the website Follow Your Flower or Plant.
Raimund Schnecking from Volmary added what he would do if he were to start a garden center:
I would grow tomatoes and breed new varieties. Be creative and offer a wide range of a specific vegetable that will create intrigue in your clients. As they’re prone to desire knowledge, they will grab what they’re not sure of so long as the marketing is done properly.
A prime representative of the experimental trend is the sweet potato. White sweet potatoes from the southern side of the US, for example, are easier to grow.
“Why don’t we make our lives easier and grow produce better?”
Breeding new types of veggies for the market will not only open the potential pathway to produce that’s easier to grow, but it will “create fun for clients”—an important selling point.
“We know there’s change in our industry, but is it a curse or a blessing?” Andreas Herzberg, divisional manager at Langard, asked during a conference on new business. Langard is a national and international marketing company which works with all market participants: cooperative members, producers, employees and customers.
We’re now seeing a very different kind of clientele, according to Andreas Herzberg who stressed, “expectations have grown.”
He agreed that retailers need to implement a supplementary range for added value—so farmers, get them growing! “Change offers opportunity. We should base our decisions on it.” Today, customers are driven by origins, sustainability, trends and innovation.
It’s not simply about the produce, though. We need to do storytelling and offer ideas to customers and recreate interest. We need to use our ideas to market better.
ISS Bio is a co-operation by blogger Acchim Sam varstelleng, a sub brand of Langard. It spreads knowledge about herbs in a fun, interactive way. The blogger also goes live on tours to take the concept even further.
As for branching out and implementing more interesting ideas, Andreas Herzberg said:
Retailers can put a QR code on products and select a recipe via the ISS Bio blog.
As herbs and vegetables increasingly intrigue customers, eating less meat has also become an ongoing trend, especially since “men have finally realized [the importance of] healthy diets,” according to Andreas Herzberg. Cooking out is no longer just about sausages. Grill-Gardening has come up with a fun, interactive way of offering barbeque recipes for specific ingredients. Double click on the vegetables and herbs you have to have them land on the grill, then click start to fire it up and out pops an amazing recipe to try.
Blogs like the Weber Blog for Grillers by Grillers, brochures, displays and other marketing material will greatly push sales upward. It’s important to create a targeted approach for different channels, such as speaking to “young people [who] have no regards to production.”
Langard has worked on various projects such as animations for kids Shaun the Sheep, Sendung mit der Maus and Maya the Bee—the cutest bee out there.
If we don’t market in a creative way, we will not generate additional growth!