MiniChamp has offered their grow kits for about ten years now. The company is still growing, and the kits are sent abroad increasingly often. The popularity of growing fruit and vegetables at home is definitely contributing to that. The special varieties are becoming more popular in particular.
Garden centres, builder’s merchants and DIY shops, bol.com, Lidl, Edeka, HEMA, Action. These are just some of the chains of shops where the home grow kits of MiniChamp can be found. A number of garden centres and builder’s merchants have the grow kits for mushrooms on their shelves year-round, but for most of the shops it concerns a seasonal or action period. “The idea behind our kits is that everyone can grow mushrooms at home. It also introduces consumers to the production method in an educational manner,” Marc Domaniecki of MiniChamp explains. “We respond to that family feeling of doing and discovering something together. A grow kit is a proper impulse product in that sense.” Besides, MiniChamp’s grow kits are often used educationally at schools, to introduce children to mushrooms at a young age, and to teach them how they grow.
The home grow kits of MiniChamp are available in several versions. The conventional white mushrooms and well-known chestnut mushrooms are doing best. Marc mentions that the special varieties are becoming more and more popular as well. For example, there’s more demand for the home grow kits with yellow and grey oyster mushrooms and interest in exotic varieties, including shiitake and eryngii, is also increasing. “People want something special. The exotic mushrooms don’t just look pretty, they also taste great. We expect that interest will only increase in future, and we hope to add even more varieties to our range.” The home grow kits are available in 3, 7.5 and 15 litres. Besides their own packaging, it’s also possible to supply the grow kits under private label. MiniChamp has also entered into a cooperation with Disney to print images of Disney characters on the kits. “These packaging are getting attention. We’re hoping to appeal to even more children, and therefore their parents this way.”
New destinations outside of Europe
MiniChamp now also supplies grow kits for vegetables, herbs, flowers and tea, as well as gift kits. “We initially started with these to expand our online shop for sales directly to consumers, but we now also supply the vegetable and herb kits in large volumes. The products complement each other. Besides, demand for mushrooms always declines in summer, but that gap can now be filled by the other products.” MiniChamp’s assortment continues to be in development this way, and this is necessary to continue realising growth, according to Marc.
The home grow kits are sold throughout Europe. The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are important destinations, but France, Switzerland and the UK, where it’s hot to ‘grow-your-own,’ also have more and more demand for the kits. New destinations include Slovenia and countries in the Middle East, as well as Asia. “To research options in other sales regions, we participated in a number of international fairs in the Middle East and Asia in recent years. More people than expected visited our stand, and we received a number of wonderful orders. We’re hoping to continue expanding our clientele here. Besides, we’re also seeing good chances for cooperations with online department stores and mail-order companies. Our home grow kits can be ordered via Dutch online shop bol.com, but international companies also offer opportunities.
Production knowledge contributes to success
MiniChamp is a sister company of FreshChamp. The producer and trader of fresh mushrooms started with grow kits on a small scale years ago, to let consumers experience the production of mushrooms. “MiniChamp soon grew into a serious company. The years of experience as producer contribute to the success of the grow kits. All kits result in a guaranteed product. Sometimes a customer switches to a different supplier, although they often return to us because of our quality. A product might look nice, but it still has to function. I’m willing to say we’re at the top of the market regarding quality.”