The 25th edition of trade fair GrootGroenPlus was held on September 30 to October 2. Both visitors and participants were very positive about the trade fair, according to the preliminary survey results. For this anniversary edition, a special program was created, and special attention was also paid to a number of participants who have participated since the start of the trade fair.

Like previous years, participants and visitors received questionnaires about their experiences at the trade fair. This showed that visitors rated the trade fair with an 8 and thought that visiting the trade fair was interesting, educational, and useful. Participants also rated the trade fair very well, with a (preliminary) 7. A majority of the participants has also registered for the edition of 2016. The involvement with the trade fair is huge; GrootGroenPlus is regarded as a trade fair that is created by trade professionals, for trade professionals. Participants also like to participate in the continued development of the trade fair.

The quality of the visitors on Wednesday and Thursday was rated higher than in 2014. A new question was related to the hospitality at the trade fair and this aspect was rated with an 8. Participants feel that GrootGroenPlus is a relation trade fair at the start of the trading season and consider the atmosphere to be very warm. This year, the questionnaire also addressed the theme, the cooperation with other trade fairs, and the extent to which GrootGroenPlus inspires visitors and participants. These aspects also scored a 7.

Most of the visitors were growers/producers and the percentage of green organizations and suppliers increased a little bit. Even though the majority came from the Netherlands, there was a noticeable increase in international visitors. They came for example from Belgium, Germany, England, Ireland, France, Poland, Spain, Nigeria, Sweden, Montenegro, the United States, Slovakia, Portugal, Turkey, Norway, Romania, Czech Republic, and Austria. In general, the trade visitors – and with that, the international trade visitors – seems to increase. This shows that the market is also getting better.

The novelty inspection has turned into a regular item at GrootGroenPlus. The judges rated a total of 23 submitted plants and selected the Chamaecyperis pisifera ‘Blue Moon’, submitted by Sierteeltkwekerij Kools, as the best novelty. The judges called it ‘a healthy, uniform blue dwarf conifer with a high level of cuddliness’. There were also two other gold medal winners, the Skimmia japonica ‘Moerings1’ (WHITE DWARF), and the Skimmia japonica ‘Moerings 2’ (RED DWARF), both submitted to Van Vliet New Plants. In total, 4 silver and 5 bronze medals were also awarded. The judges were satisfied with the quality of the novelties.

Tree nursery Verpaalen-Herijgers had the best green stand and won the Jac Lodders award. According to the jury, the company succeeded in representing the theme ‘Growing Strong! Celebrating 25 years!’, which was beautifully illustrated by them. They had done this by creating a combination of plants and shrubs, but also by using a company film, and with many images of 25 years of trade fair. Stichting Beurshal won the Jan van Dongen award for the best supplier stand. The Zunderts Groen Imago Prijs was won by Roelands Boomkwekerijen BV. They succeeded best in promoting the region of Zundert, both in their publications and in their products.

During the anniversary night, trend watcher Donata van der Rassel had a chance to give a speech. She expects that growers and retailers will play a completely different role in the future. In the next few years, we will be dealing with an even more critical consumer, who knows how to use the Internet. It is a consumer with an unconscious desire for green, who is also looking increasingly more at quality. Sustainability will play an important role in making decisions, and the need for good information will increase. The grower of the future will have to make clear choice, he needs a strategy and choosing is winning.