“PanAmerican Seed developed Kitchen Minis as a new way to grow plants that would not otherwise grow indoors. The consumers harvest over a few weeks, then repeat,” says Claire Josephson, marketing manager at PanAmerican Seed.
In spring 2021, the company introduced its Kitchen Minis collection, which includes ready-grown fruiting compact pepper and tomato plants. Kitchen Minis can be placed on a sunny windowsill or countertop then harvested for an average of 3–5 weeks. Kitchen Minis are comparable to potted herbs sold at supermarkets, except that consumers would be purchasing fruiting crops.
“As a breeding company, we sell these seeds to propagators who can produce these potted plants for nurseries, supermarkets, etc. The consumer would purchase these plants with a nice amount of fruit on it, some already ripe, then harvest roughly 1–2 pints of tomatoes and small peppers, depending on the variety,” says Claire.
PanAmerican Seed developed its Kitchen Minis collection in response to the increased consumer interest in homegrown edible plants and the trend towards indoor growing. According to sales account manager Josh Kirschenbaum, “many consumers don’t have the space to grow plants or are first-time gardeners. We felt that Kitchen Minis were a good way to check a lot of those boxes and help people grow their own food even if they don’t have a yard or patio.”
Kitchen Minis potted plants can be sold through various sales channels including supermarkets, nurseries and garden centers, farm stands and florists.
Promotional toolkit for Kitchen Minis
Since the PanAmerican Seed Kitchen Minis collection is novel and targets consumers who may not consider themselves gardeners otherwise, PanAmerican Seed is committing to facilitating promotion of Kitchen Minis and ensuring that consumers buy, eat and repeat. To do so, the company has launched a free package of promotional tools, which includes display signage and P.O.P., a Kitchen Mini flyer, social media posts and video commercials.
For consumers, the potted plants have branded tags that include all the plant care information. That said, Kitchen Minis were developed to be easy-to-grow and low maintenance.
“When the consumer buys the plant, there is already going to be fruit on the plant and some will likely be ripe. With a harvesting period of 3–5 weeks, keeping the plant watered on a sunny windowsill is sufficient. The consumer doesn’t need to consider as many things as if they were growing outdoors, nor do they even need to transplant it,” says Josh.
After harvesting fruit over a period of 1–2 months, consumers can then compost the plant and purchase another one, in the same way that consumers repeatedly purchase potted herbs.
While the Kitchen Minis collection currently includes multiple compact pepper and tomato varieties, PanAmerican Seed also plans to expand the collection in the next 1–2 years to include other fruiting crops.