Unprecedented consumer demand for growing media, even during the lockdown, means manufacturers are struggling to keep up with deliveries.
Unprecedented demand for growing media means that many garden centres are crying out for stock. “There’s never been such a high demand, because the UK’s passion for gardening is skyrocketing,” said Mark Portman, MD UK & Ireland at Evergreen Garden Care.
Compost sales remained resilient even during the 7 week lock down. Steve Harper of The Greener Gardening Company (formerly Bord na Mona) said sales to garden centres were up in April by double digit amounts despite only about 30% of them finding a way to trade. He said, “Some Garden Centres traded nearly their normal total annual volume over the 6 week period (late March and April)”.
New shift patterns
This has presented a new challenge to suppliers while enforcing social distancing restrictions.
Mark Portman, MD UK & Ireland at Evergreen Garden Care, said, “We are doing everything we can to support our customers in meeting this demand, while also ensuring the safety of our team as our priority.
“We’ve… introduced new shift patterns to ensure we are producing the maximum amount of product that we can – that’s both our growing media plants working seven days a week with multiple shifts in place.
“We’ve prioritised our growing media product range for the time being, to focus on a core number of products to help us meet our customer orders.”
Manufacturers failing to keep up
It is clear to Steve Harper that manufacturers are struggling to keep up as he has seen many retailers that they don’t normally trade with looking for additional supply.
Steve Harper explained, “We are absolutely focussed on supplying our existing customers to ensure we keep them in stock whilst this demand continues, accepting that our lead times have stretched given the unprecedented demand.”
He added, “I fully expect the growing media season to extend through all of June whereas we would usually expect it to start winding down as to the second week of June.”
Gardenforum contacted other leading suppliers who didn’t reply by in time for publication.