All the Fun of the Fair!

GIMA Director, Vicky Nutall writes:

I am writing this as GIMA returns from another excellent showcase at Glee, the first full scale and-in person exhibition for the garden centre industry in two years. People had naturally been curious to see how the event would go after more than a year of lockdown and from our point of view it was a great success. Quality buyers were out in force and ready to place orders and everyone was delighted to finally catch up with so many industry friends and colleagues in a face-to-face setting.

The 14th-16th September saw us host around 200 GIMA Buyer Connect meetings in our lounge in Hall 6, bringing dozens of major industry buyers together with suppliers keen to pitch their products and solutions to the best in the business. Buyer Connect was open to all Glee exhibitors and the overall event was such a success that many of those who participated were also inspired to sign up as GIMA members. Our industry naturally attracts a lot of innovation and we’re looking forward to working with all of those who have now become part of the GIMA family.

The crucial matter of sustainability was a big keyword for the show and I was proud to see the UK garden industry’s first Plastic Packaging Pledge – launched by GIMA earlier this year – gain ground while we were at Glee. This got off to a great start of the first day of the show when I opened the Honeyfield’s Wild Bird Feed stand. Part of the WHM Pet Group, Honeyfield’s is a GIMA member which has really been listening to us and driving forward the principles of recyclable packaging.

It is very important for businesses to take note of this whole issue of plastic packaging, not only for environmental reasons but because the Government has introduced a Plastic Packaging Tax, due to take effect from April 2022. This is a new tax that will apply to any plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. So for brands like Honeyfield’s, their new 100% recycled, 100% recyclable, and 100% biodegradable wild bird food packaging will be exempt from the tax.

Another highlight of the show was, as ever, the announcement of the GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund winner, which for 2021 is Pot-mate™. This is the seventh competition we’ve run and it’s proved to be a great way for the industry to develop exceptional new brands with the potential to drive growth and diversification in the garden retail sector.

As a recipient of the Seed Corn Fund Pot-mate™ is following in some big footsteps but I’m sure they will prove to be an exciting new addition to the market. Made from 100% recycled polymer, the Pot-mate™ offers a simple yet highly efficient solution to a common problem associated with container gardening, an important growing category as more young people and urban dwellers adopt grow-your-own and gardening in limited spaces.

The pot market has really taken off over the past few years and Pot-mate™ offers a unique growth opportunity for retailers to achieve impulse and add-on sales. Made from recycled material with UK design and manufacturing aspects, all in all this makes Pot-mate™ a truly worthy winner and the company is now set to receive £6,000 of support and help with the development and marketing of their product, together with support from experts within the industry.

After an important and successful exhibition at Glee, the next big event for the industry is, of course, the GIMA Awards ceremony, now in its 40th year, which will take place at the fabulous Celtic Manor Resort. This is the social event of the year for our industry and I know I’m not alone in hugely looking forward to raising a glass to all who will be joining us there on Thursday November 11th.

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