Municipal care providers and customers appreciate the miracle of growth and healthy herbs that Plantui’s indoor garden brings to senior care homes.
Established in 2012, Plantui is a Finnish design & food tech company that has combined cutting edge plant science and light spectrum intelligence to create a beautifully designed hydroponic indoor garden product. Plantui Smart Garden offers a fully automated process that makes it possible to grow fresh herbs, flowers and salads without soil.
Denmark was identified by Plantui as a core market from the beginning due to many trends that support the idea of indoor gardening. Plantui Smart Garden has potentially wide appeal across different market segments such as kitchen appliances, design artefacts and furniture.
“For a long time we have also recognized health care as a possible segment but were never in a position to access that market, until Finpro came up with an interesting event,” says Christian Helweg-Larsen, Plantui’s sales agent in Denmark. Plantui Smart Garden products are displayed in the Finnish Health Tech Embassy in Odense, a living-lab that hosts Finnish companies and showcases their products and services to decision-makers in the Danish public sector.
Finpro event opens new market segment
In May 2016, Finpro invited Plantui and other Finnish companies to present their products at an event attended by Danish municipalities, Denmark’s Foreign Minister and the Ambassador of Finland in Denmark.
“There was a lot of interest from the municipalities and many of them saw the potential for using Plantui Smart Garden in the context of senior care. The technology gave them the idea that observing things grow is always a beautiful process. The product is also visually attractive and makes a calm night light,” says Helweg-Larsen.
“Representatives from the Municipality of Billund immediately said that this is exactly what they need, giving the seniors enjoyable experiences as they follow how the plants grow as well as providing fresh herbs for their food.”
Successful testing and validation
By June 2016, Plantui Smart Garden 6 was already being tested in the living room and kitchen of the Hejnsvig centre in Billund.
“The feedback from the seniors has been very positive and the centre has even published stories about Plantui on its website, which shows their enthusiasm for the product. The centre’s staff members are also pleased because with Plantui they can offer something new for the seniors,” says Helweg-Larsen.
There are about 50 senior care centres in Billund and a total of 98 municipalities in Denmark.
“I think that Finpro’s event was a perfect example of creating an opportunity for direct dialogue with potential customers, rather than having to call them by phone. It provided us with a much better platform and the relevant audience. Now we are thinking of participating in a trade fair targeting all the municipalities, which we would not have thought of doing before.”
Boost for international expansion
Plantui will now also be featured on the cover of catalogue magazine published by a Danish distributor that supplies different products to all the senior care centres in Denmark. Plantui’s Export Sales Manager Andrew Kolomy is excited about using a similar approach in other target countries.
“If our experience in Denmark confirms that the concept is right for this segment, then we can also consider applying the same strategy in other markets, especially in Europe. In Asia we may also need to take account of some cultural differences and adjust the marketing strategy accordingly,” he says.
Plantui is part of an internationalization program run by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. About 60% of the company’s sales revenue already comes from abroad. Export markets have been opened to 13 countries.
“If you want to become international, you need to think internationally from the very beginning,” says Kolomy.
“Seniors enjoy the miracle of growth, it is something that brings them happiness. The plants are fresh, healthy and tasty, the product design is beautiful, and the light attracts attention. So I strongly believe that Plantui Smart Garden has a huge potential to bring more life to senior care centres and similar places in the health care segment around the world.”