For several years now, the popularity of hobby vegetables and herbs is increasing and over the last months, the pandemic fueled this trend. Growing your own vegetables is hot and earlier this month, a perfect timing you can say, Beekenkamp introduced their hobby vegetables concept Alfresco. But what's the story behind it and how to maintain this high level of popularity of this product category? Petra Dubbel, Marketing Coordinator at Beekenkamp Plants tells us their story.
On the left Petra Dubbel and on the right the Alfresco concept.
As the demand for hobby vegetables and herbs increased sharply over the last months, it may seem like Beekenkamp quickly adapted to this trend. However, that's not exactly the case. "Originally, we grow vegetables and ornamental plants for the professional grower. With this knowledge and experience, the step to growing hobby vegetables was very logical. For about 5 years now, we sell a limited range of hobby vegetables to our growers. About 1.5 years ago, the desire arose to expand our range and to create a brand in order to add value to the products throughout the whole supply chain."
So, the beginning of 2019, they already started to brainstorm for a name for a concept. "We decided to come up with a concept as it is something we are quite experienced in, as we have successfully launched several for our ornamental varieties." The name of the concept is Alfresco and they officially launched it earlier this month.
Increasing demand hobby vegetables
For several years now, Beekenkamp sees the demand for hobby vegetables increasing. "France and Germany are important markets to us, but also in the UK and Scandinavia we see the demand increasing." And particularly over the last months, the demand increased sharply. "The pandemic fueled the trends that we've already pointed out before COVID-19 hit the world. Alfresco literally means: “good food in the open air” and that is exactly the goal of our hobby vegetable range. Besides a great taste and a wide range of vegetables, Alfresco has more to offer. Alfresco responds to all current trends. The name “Alfresco” says it all: Fres(h)! The consumer growing their own vegetables and fruit in the comfort of their own home and garden. It doesn’t get Fresher than that. It offers relaxation, contributes to a more sustainable world (less packaging, more greenery) and provides fun and education for young and old. Convenience, clarity and fun are central to the concept."
Convenience, clarity and fun
Dubbel is convinced that the trend of hobby vegetables is here to stay, however, it is important that the hobby grower succeeds when he or she grows the plants. "So, convenience, clarity and fun are essential and therefore elements that are central to the new Alfresco concept. Each plant has its own mascot that tells the consumer what the properties of the plant are. The photos clearly show which product it is. This recognizable, attractive style makes it fun and easy for consumers to choose and grow the right products."