July 20, 2012

A year ago we conducted a survey to investigate how much home gardening our panel is doing. Last month, we ran the same poll to see how gardening habits have changed

A year ago, SupermarketGuru conducted a survey to investigate how much home gardening our panel is doing. Last month, SG ran the same poll to see how gardening habits have changed in a year. Here's what we found.

The latest poll shows a small increase in home gardens. Vegetable gardening increased from 79% in 2011 to 85% in 2012. Herb gardening increased slightly from 79% to 81%, and fruit gardening increased a little more going from 42% to 49%.

The survey explored the reasons the panel is interested in gardening and "gardening as a hobby" remains the number answer, staying at 75% for both years surveyed. The number two answer, "I feel homegrown foods taste better" increased by three points (70% vs. 73%), and the number three most popular answer, "I maintain a home garden as a source of food," remained the same for both years at 63%. Although most of questions posed remained the same for both years or saw a one to three percentage point increase, there was a decrease in five percentage points in the answer, 'I feel my home garden saves me money," going down from 59% in 2011 to 54% in 2012.

When we asked our panel why they don't maintain a garden, which for both surveys was less than 71% of the panel, we found that there have been one to two point decreases in percentage points for reasons such as time, space, climate and lack of knowledge on how to grow things. This suggests the possibility that the popularity of urban gardens, community gardens, and perhaps the influence of friends and neighbors that garden, could be fueling this trend and could be expected to increase more. However, those home gardeners that see no benefit in saving money could become frustrated and consider the time put into maintaining their garden is not worth the hassle.

When it comes to purchasing gardening supplies, 47% of our 2012 panel shops for these items at a local nursery, up five points from 2011. In 2011, the number one place (43%) our panel shopped for gardening supplies was at large retail stores such as Home Depot, Target, Lowe's, etc. That number has now dropped two percentage points and is now second to local nurseries. Still supermarkets remained for both years at 2%. Perhaps it's time supermarkets consider opening up some space on their seasonal aisle for gardening tools, or consider selling herb plants, vegetable plants, seeds, etc in their floral departments.

The fact that 100% of the 2012 panel say they are interested in gardening is clear evidence that supermarkets could benefit from offering not only a more extensive line of gardening supplies, but could also benefit from community programs that teach basic gardening, how to cook with homegrown herbs, or how about a kids day where children plant a tomato seed in a cup to take home and learn how to take care of the plant. Healthy eating and the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables are always a great tie in for any type of gardening programs.