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GLAS Special: An overview of Bord Bia’s key activities by Carol Marks – Sector Manager Amenity Horticulture at Bord Bia

Bord Bia's The Thinking House stand at GLAS 2017

Bord Bia implements a range of programmes and activities to support the Amenity Horticulture Sector across all of the supply chain. These include: consumer and trade promotion, business development, market research, and quality programmes.



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20 July 2017

GroMór Gardening Promotion

GroMór, a collaboration of the gardening Industry, encompassing the REI Garden Centre Group and Nursery Growers, Bord Bia, Westland Horticulture, and Bord na Mona, with financial contributions from all parties, is now in its third year.

The overall objective in years one and two was to highlight the benefits of gardening and spending time in the often forgotten outdoor space to young couples and families.


Award winning garden designer Diarmuid Gavin joined forces with TV3’s Anna Daly today (Monday, 27th March) to launch GroMór 2017, a nationwide campaign to get the country growing.

Building on the success of those inaugural years, 2017 saw a shift in focus to target all demographics, in particular the older demographic, which are documented as being the dominant spenders in our sector.

This is borne out in the results of our 2016: ‘Value of the Garden Market Survey’ and our recently completed, “Behaviour and Attitudes Survey”, which is highlighted separately in this publication.

Messaging focuses on four key areas: Health and Wellbeing, Interior and Exterior Décor, The Family Garden, and Lifestyle. A greater emphasis on provenance and local suppliers was undertaken, with the production of POS board for all participating nurseries; made available to all sixty five participating garden centres.


Plant display at a GroMór Centre

This is complemented with GroMór plant pot labels, used by participating nurseries on their plants. The range of activities for this year includes a strong PR campaign, a focus on social media channels, and demonstrations from the five appointed GroMór ambassadors around the country.

The five ambassadors: Jane McCorkell, Ciaran Burke, Marie Staunton, Peter Dowdall, and Kevin Dennis, were joined by Diarmuid Gavin as National Ambassador, and a huge amount of coverage has been achieved in the media as a result.

Additional videos featuring hints and tips from the ambassadors were produced in order to enhance the suite of materials for use on the GroMór website and social media channels.

Check out the newly revamped website at or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Bloom 2017, now in its 11th year, took place over the June bank holiday weekend at the Phoenix Park and was attended by a record 120,000 people. Visitor satisfaction rate for the show remains high, with an estimated value of sales generated on site over the five days in excess of €8 million.

Once again Bloom provided a high profile promotional platform for Horticultural businesses to exhibit, promote, and market their products and services; receiving widespread media coverage.

Visitor exit polls indicate a strong interest in continued spend on their garden in the coming months with research for Bord Bia by B&A indicating that consumer expenditure on gardening, inspired by Bloom nationally, was estimated at €29m this year.

34% of visitors were attending Bloom for the first time, an increase of 16% the previous year, and a significant 45% have attended 3 or more years in a row.

Savills Urban Retreat Photo Johnny Bambury / Fennell Photography

Savills Urban Retreat show garden at Bloom 2017, designed by Alan Rudden. The garden was awarded a Gold medal in the Large garden category.

Bloom is a huge undertaking, with build starting in late April, and breakdown taking three weeks after the show.

● 22 Show Gardens were built, with the support of 15 + sponsors
● We built 3.20 Acres of Marquees
● 600-700 people worked on building Bloom over a 31 days period
● We laid 3.6 Km of track way, 1km of walkway and erected 1.7Km of fencing.
● We built 5 stages, erected 5 bridges and placed 675 crowd control barriers
● In 2016 no Bloom waste went to Landfill and for the first time we sent waste for composting.
● For Bloom 2017 we will be composting as much waste as possible

Plans for Bloom 2018 are already underway. Join your industry colleagues who are already participating, so be sure to get in touch – it’s your show!!

Marketing Assistance for Horticulture Companies

Bord Bia provides financial support to Irish food, drink and horticulture companies through our Marketing Assistance and Step Change programmes. Both initiatives can enhance the competitiveness of your business by helping you take the next step in your growth progression.

The MAP assists you in establishing a foothold in new and emerging niche markets, while the SCP funds significant new projects which have the potential to impact strongly on your company’s growth levels.

The call for applications for 2018 will take place in December of this year. Details will be available on the Bord Bia website closer to the time. Contact us should you wish to receive an alert email directly.

Business & Trade Development

Bord Bia continues to provide amenity businesses support through trade promotion events and business development activities which include: supplier, product, and brand development activities. Support is provided in the export market through mentoring and the facilitation of buyer introductions.

Amenity Export Programme

Bord Bia supports amenity sector exporters through the Amenity Export Programme. The programme – underpinned through mentoring support – is targeted at amenity horticulture business owners, who wish to build on existing export sales or enter export markets for the first time.

With the advent of Brexit and the importance of the UK market to exporters in this sector the support is being amplified and targeted where needed.
Nursery stock producers in Ireland are potentially faced with many challenges and opportunities as a result of Brexit.

Whilst it is difficult at this stage to identify the extent of those challenges, nursery stock producers can in the meantime work on improving their business processes and improve their competency in marketing and sales; enabling them to be ready for future challenges.

To assist nursery stock producers in developing their business, Bord Bia in conjunction with business consultant Neville Stein, are organising a study tour to the USA in October 2017.

This study tour includes visits to nursery stock producers, garden retailers and public gardens.

The key objective of the tour is to identify innovative and transferable production and marketing methodologies that equip nurseries to better manage the future challenges ahead.

Nursery producers in the USA have long been recognised for their marketing and sales development with an acute understanding of their customer’s needs.

Market Research and Information

Bord Bia carries out a measure of the gardening market every two years. The Value of the Garden Market study was carried out in 2016 by IPSOSMRBI, a review of the labour status in the horticulture industry as a whole, was also carried out in 2016 to provide an updated estimate of the levels of employment in the sector, while a B&A study on gardening was recently completed by RedC.

All reports are published on the Bord Bia website or can be studied by visiting the Library at The Thinking House by appointment.

An industry day is scheduled to take place in September to which all sectors of amenity horticulture will be invited to attend. The above studies will be presented and the EU funded promotional campaigns will be discussed, with a view to garnering interest from the industry for a submission of funding in 2018.

The Thinking House @ Bord Bia

A new state of the art hub for Bord Bia’s Insight and Innovation services, “The Thinking House”, was launched in autumn last year. Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture industry can enjoy unrestricted access to the latest global trends, research, consumer insights and industry innovations.

The Thinking House is managed by Helen King, Director of Consumer Insight and a team of 11 professionals, with backgrounds ranging from psychology to librarianship.

The creative space includes a ”Trends Zone” to highlight the latest food and drink innovations from around the world and a ”Packaging and Branding” gallery to promote best in class design and to showcase Bord Bia’s recent work with Irish producers.

The “Living Room” and its adjacent viewing room, allows Bord Bia to conduct qualitative focus and discussion groups, while the library presents invaluable access to a wide range of databases and reports that would heretofore have been financially prohibitive to source for many small to medium-sized companies working in the industry.

Bord Bia’s Insight and Innovation services are open to all Irish producers, and a number of nurseries have utilised its brand development programme over recent years, with two projects currently in progress.

Visit the Bord Bia Thinking House at GLAS today for a flavour of what is on offer.

We are here to Help
For; Business Development/MAP Grants/Consumer Promotions/Insight and Innovation Contact: Carol Marks on 01 6142266 or email

For; Export Development and Bloom
Contact Gary Graham on 01 6142289 or email

For: access to reports and studies Contact our Library & Information OR route your enquiry through your Sector Manager above.

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