Sustainable product development in horticulture

Sustainable product development in horticulture
Managing Director Media Concept Group

From the IT industry we know the term "half-life of innovations". This describes how quickly a product development that is still the big hit today is replaced within months by an innovation that brings even more benefits or is offered at a lower price. In horticultural production and marketing, the innovation steps usually take years, not months. The exception is the area of "sustainability". In this blog post, we want to shed light on developments and present an example.

Before we use an example to describe the process of "sustainable product development", we briefly look back at decades of product and marketing development for plants:
- Until the end of the 1970s: consumers were not deeply interested in sustainability. Thus, the use of many pesticides that are banned today was the order of the day. Point-of-sale marketing or labels were unknown

  • 1980s: With the invention of UV printing, it was suddenly possible to print on plastic. Innovative nurseries now delivered their plants with labels and the consumer received "written information" about the plant.
  • 1990s: Retailers demand that more and more companies provide labels. However, most production companies still see labels as a necessity and not as an opportunity to promote sales.
  • Until approx. 2010: In Germany in particular, there are the first trends towards sustainability within the plastic label market.
  • Since approx. 2012: Until today, we see a continuous development where not only the label has to fulfil the criteria of sustainability, but also the pot, the production process of the plant and the outer packaging. In addition, regional cultivation supports the sustainability efforts.

Media Concept and Gregg Marketing are the partner of growers and production companies in many projects from the very beginning when it comes to defining all components of a new product. Especially in the last two years, the willingness to use products that are consistently sustainable has increased.

A great example is the project: NATURE - plant & promote. With this project, the Stauden Ring promotes biodiversity, and all components of the product are sustainable. Here the details:

These are produced without the use of chemical pesticides. Furthermore, the Stauden Ring partner Frikarti Stauden uses seeds from Switzerland that are certified by “Floretia” which indicates that they are native plants.

Concept development
The claim to support biodiversity is reflected in the innovative design of the label and the advertising material.

NATURE - plant & promote 
NATURE - plant & promote

The plant labels are mounted on a wooden stick and are made of cardboard. Both products are fully biodegradable.

The BLUE Pöppelmann plant pot made of 100% recycled plastic is being used. After use, the pots are proven to be 100% recyclable.

The plants are produced in peat-free substrate. With this, too, Stauden Ring is setting an example and paving the way for future developments in peat-free cultivation.

Plant, pot, substrate and label show clearly the sustainable approach of the project 
Plant, pot, substrate and label show clearly the sustainable approach of the project

The teams at Gregg Marketing and Media Concept Switzerland enjoy "sustainable product development". We look forward to talking to you.


Robert Wacker
Managing Director Media Concept Group
Robert Wacker has been working in the green industry since 1980. For 20 years, he has been developing marketing and sales concepts for breeders, producers and retailers. As Managing Director of all international affairs for the Media Concept Group, he regularly writes articles for this blog.

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