Coventry-based HydroGarden’s has come 26th out of the top 200 UK companies for international sales growth. The Sunday Times HSBC International FastTrack 200 league table reveals that 2020 was HydroGarden’s strongest year yet
Founded in Coventry in 1996 with a team of just three people, HydroGarden Ltd has grown into an international business with almost 140 employees across the UK, Germany, and South Africa. Since its foundation, HydroGarden has achieved consistent profitable growth, expanded to offer over 2,000 products, and built ten “own product” brands from the ground up. Now in its 25th year of trading, the UK’s leading hydroponics wholesaler turns over just under £42 million annually.
HydroGarden made a decisive move in early 2020 by acquiring leading German hydroponics wholesaler, the Berlin-based company Grow In. In the lead up to the Brexit deadline, this was a crucial decision. By having a mainland Europe base for their EU operations, HydroGarden has been able to strategise and adapt rapidly to the changing landscape of trade between the UK and the EU. As international travel became problematic owing to COVID-19, the fact that HydroGarden had an existing presence in Germany made it simpler for its European business to continue as usual.
This expansion of HydroGarden’s international operations comes in addition to opening up an arm of the business in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2019. Initially starting with one container of stock and one employee, HydroGarden South Africa (Pty) Ltd now employs a team of 4 and in 2021 is expected to turn over just under £1 million. Scope for continued growth is high, as Africa is now the fastest growing market within the global hydroponics industry.
Over the 25 exciting years that HydroGarden has been in business, it has contributed to technological development in the global hydroponics industry and continues to push for innovation. HydroGarden holds 98 patents in total (including pending), and continual product development and testing happens both with partner farms and in HydroGarden’s onsite vertical farm and greenhouse facility. Collaborating with six English colleges and universities, HydroGarden hosts ongoing Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Development Partnerships, offering opportunities for the next generation of leaders in the fields of plant science and hydroponics.
As a sustainable technology in a world increasingly aware of the need for innovative solutions to global problems, the hydroponics industry is projected to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 22.5% between 2019-2025. Hydroponic agriculture is often touted as a solution to future food insecurity, as climate change makes conventional agriculture less dependable. Utilised as part of a local food supply chain, hydroponic growing can reduce the carbon footprint of fresh produce, as it enables suppliers to grow out-of-season crops locally for their customers, rather than having to import from overseas.