Now in its fifth year, the GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund has helped to bring to market a series of brands, many of which are considered key players helping to drive growth and diversification of the garden retail sector. This year’s winners – Natural Grower – are sure to be no different as the trend for organic and veganic gardening continues to shape consumer spending habits.
Natural Grower is reporting strong demand from buyers for its products. Its hero product, Natural Liquid Fertiliser, the product which caught the eye of the GISCF judges in 2019 – is supplied concentrated. Once diluted, it can be poured around the base of border or container plants – adding nutrients precisely where they’re needed with no waste – so the goodness is rapidly absorbed by root systems as a potent nutrient boost.
Beating off stiff competition and judged by a panel made up of both Glee and GIMA representatives, Natural Grower – as GISCF winners – will receive support up to the value of £6,000 to help with development and marketing costs associated with entering the UK garden retail market, including a year’s full GIMA membership, and a wide range of business support tools.
GIMA Director, Vicky Nuttall said: “We’re incredibly pleased to confirm that Natural Grower is the 2019 winner of the GIMA Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund. The product offering, and story behind the brand, is right on message and fits perfectly with the trends that are influencing category growth and consumer demands. An incredibly strong entry, Natural Grower offers well delivered products and a branding that stands out on the shelf. We’ve no doubt that retailers will be wanting to know more about Natural Grower!”
In addition to choosing a winner, the panel also selected iTip Handles and Coco & Coir as 2019 runners-up, with both demonstratinggreat innovation and alternative solutions to existing products. Vicky added: “The 2019 GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund received more entries than ever before, and I must say, the competition was tough! It’s great to see so many new businesses coming into the sector and doing so with products that are so well thought out and commercially ready.”
As the winner, Natural Grower is now set to receive funding and help with the development and marketing of their product, together with support from experts within the industry.
Meet Natural Grower
At the forefront of the organic and veganic gardening revolution is Natural Grower, a new and rapidly expanding brand with a growing list of stockists. Natural Grower products are approved by The Soil Association, Organic Farmers and Growers, and The Vegan Society, so both novice and experienced gardeners can harness the benefits with full confidence that the fertilisers are truly organic as well as being free from animal by-products.
Owner of Natural Grower, Charlotte Beaty, points out that consumers are looking for “effective, organic and vegan-friendly fertiliser solutions”. She explains: “Vegan gardening is the growing movement of the moment. Organic gardening has steadily grown over the last few years, and more people are now looking to grow veganically. Most organic fertilisers or soil conditioners have animal by-products in them, so vegan growers have been delighted to finally have a nutrient-rich product to use to grow their fruit and vegetables”.
Natural Grower’s products are 100% earthworm-friendly and ideally positioned to help retailers expand sales in the fast-growing organic and vegan sales categories. In addition to Natural Liquid Fertiliser, the company also offer the Natural Soil Conditioner, which is an innovative mulch that’s designed to be dug into garden soil prior to planting. Because it’s rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and trace elements, the goodness is gradually broken down by soil-borne organisms, making Natural Soil Conditioner the ultimate eco-friendly long-term slow-release fertiliser.
Deep-rooted environmental commitment
So how did it all begin? The story that brought Natural Grower to market is an inspirational tale that underpins the brand’s deep-rooted environmentally friendly ethos and commitment to bringing new vegan fertilisers to market. Natural Grower’s owners, Charlotte and Richard Beaty, come from a family that has farmed at Nevil Holt in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, for over 50 years.
Formerly a dairy unit before diversifying into arable, in 2014 the business invested in an anaerobic digester, a smart piece of technology that uses naturally occurring bacteria to break down maize without the use of chemicals. While the resulting biogas goes into a power unit that converts it into electricity to supply the National Grid, providing renewable energy for 1,000 homes each year, the process also produces a by-product called digestate, the magic ingredient behind the Natural Grower brand.
Digestate is fed into a separator to produce a liquid fertiliser and a mulch. This free-from-animal-matter fertiliser was used on the family’s farm to replace chemical fertilisers, with outstanding results witnessed in farm crops, as well as in garden vegetables and plants. While the nutrient rich liquid fertiliser and mulch is spread on the farm’s fields to grow the next crop of maize, extending its use by launching into the consumer market was a natural progression for the business, as it looked to fill a gap in the market for vegan-approved fertiliser. Crucially, Natural Grower is safe to use in gardens that are home to children, without posing any risk to pets or wildlife – a key demand of modern consumers.
Helping retailers to grow sales
The benefits of Natural Grower can now be harnessed by domestic gardeners, via a rapidly expanding network of stockists. Launched in February 2019, Natural Grower already has 15 stockists across the UK, and the list is set to grow.
Natural Grower fertiliser is attractively packaged to boost sales and competitively priced to help retail managers grow sales of organic plant food and soil improvers. A 2-litre bottle of Natural Liquid Fertiliser costs £12.99 with a 10-litre liquid bottle carrying an RRP of £34.99. The 16-litre tub of Natural Soil Conditioner is priced at £17.99.
To meet consumer demand, Natural Grower has just added a selection of eco-friendly accessories to its portfolio. The Green Pockets, The Green Bag and The Green Pot offer consumers an environmentally friendly way of growing and displaying flowers, herbs vegetables and fruit – while these strong, reusable containers are perfect for patios and balconies as well as traditional gardens.
Retailers can find out more about Natural Grower by visiting stand 7J82 at Glee. Buyers are encouraged to view this innovative new brand at Glee, while sampling organic British wine that will be served on the stand!