GROWING MARKET SHARE - BARRIERS TO UPTAKE OF PEAT-FREE GROWING MEDIA BY UK AMATEUR GARDENERS

P.D. Alexander, R.H. Williams
Peat has been a common constituent of growing media used by UK amateur gardeners since the mid 1960s. Since the late 1980s, pressure from government and environmental groups has been increasing for gardeners and professional growers to reduce their peat use. However, significant volumes of peat are still being used in UK horticulture and the majority of this (69% or 2.03 million cubic metres) is consumed by amateur gardeners (Anon, 2010a). Although the RHS has been working with government, non-governmental organisations, retailers, nurseries, trade associations, and media manufacturers for many years on this issue, progress away from a market dominated by peat-based products has been slower than many had hoped for. We believe there are five over-riding factors:
  • Patchy provision of fit for purpose peat-reduced and peat-free alternatives (i.e. ensuring quality and consistency of product).
  • Economics of the growing media supply chain (e.g. product development and production costs).
  • Motivation of gardeners to change (including awareness of bag content and environmental issues associated with peat use).
  • Achieving successful gardening without peat (e.g. adapting plant management techniques).
  • Overcoming previous adverse experiences (i.e. building consumer confidence).
We believe that a co-ordinated strategy of raising public awareness of the environmental issues, explaining the importance of good growing media for successful gardening, improved product information on bags and company websites alongside research and development into better products is required to bring about change in behaviour amongst UK gardeners to reduce peat use.
Alexander, P.D. and Williams, R.H. (2013). GROWING MARKET SHARE - BARRIERS TO UPTAKE OF PEAT-FREE GROWING MEDIA BY UK AMATEUR GARDENERS. Acta Hortic. 982, 83-91
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.982.8
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.982.8
peat, peat-free, RHS survey, supply chain economics, gardeners
English