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Sustainability and performance in growing media prove successes for Westland

The New Horizon range saw its retail sales more than double in 2019. Photo: Westland.

Westland plans to drive sustainability across the whole of its business, which will be highlighted by its developments in the growing media category next season.



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27 August 2019

Sustainability, performance, and quality, are three key focus areas for Westland, and this will continue as it heads into 2020, once again reiterating the company’s commitment to putting gardeners at the heart of its strategy.

The success of Westland’s New Horizon range saw its retail sales more than double in 2019, and the experience New Horizon is giving gardeners has laid the foundation for further growth in 2020.

Westland plans to continue to drive sustainability across the whole of its business, which will be highlighted by its developments in the growing media category next season.

“New Horizon was never about being just another peat-free compost, it was a new generation of growing media built on performance, look, and consumer engagement.”, said marketing director Keith Nicholson.

Nicholson continued: “We are continuing to develop and invest in high-performance products for gardeners, which will have a real impact on the overall sustainability within the garden market. Research and development is a key part in shaping the future and materials such as BIO3 – used in New Horizon – when, in combination with our patented West+ material, have made a fundamental change to our industry and our sustainable footprint. Not to mention the experience of millions of gardeners across the country.” 

Non-peat materials performance

Since 2009 Westland has seen its use of non-peat materials increase from 38% to over 70% in 2019. Looking towards 2020, Westland is looking to make this position even stronger. Its peat reduction programme will be extended on key volume lines such as Multi-Purpose with John Innes – a move which Nicholson said is the most significant step in reducing peat consumption across the whole industry in 2020.

Westland is also conscious that the retail industry needs to learn from history.

“We are passionate about protecting the gardening consumer, and highlighted caution to not repeat the mistakes made in the mid 2000s. The sudden rush to use low-grade, poor materials in growing media led consumers to lose trust in peat-free and growing media products as a whole. 

“However, in recent years, we have seen this trust return and perception of growing media has never been better. Hopefully, the sector has learnt the lesson and won’t rush to replace peat with materials that have not been proven and put consumer horticulture at risk.

“Some companies will continue to use green waste as an alternative to manage cost inputs.  However, its quality and origins still vary by region, which can lead to poor-quality materials and inconsistent results for gardeners. We are very clear, Westland will not, and does not, use green waste in our growing media. Gardeners are at the heart of our strategy and they deserve the right quality and performance, whether peat-based or peat-free.” said Nicholson.

New range

To underpin the importance of performance, 2020 will also see the introduction of a new range of high-performance grade of composts by Westland. The new specialist range is focused on delivering the best growing results for high-value plants, or ones which need particular growing conditions. Utilising a blend of specialist micro-nutrients, macro-nutrients, and stimulants combined in a medium with an optimum structure, will ensure the best-ever growing results.

“Trees, shrubs, and buxus are a significant investment in the garden, each have different challenges and requirements. Our new specialist range is a true first for the home and garden sector. It really establishes a new level in performance, quality and enriches the health of the plant. This range will deliver added value for the end consumer and strong attachment opportunities for the retail sector.” said Nicholson.

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