The New World Little Garden collection craze has taken root.
The supermarket chain began the six-week promotion on September 7, giving away vegetable, herb and flower seedling kits with every $40 spent – so you’d have to spend $960 over six weeks to collect them all.
Kiwi parents committed to collecting the full catalogue have adopted a ‘work smarter not harder’ approach and founded numerous community Facebook groups to trade and on-sell excess seedlings of one type in exchange for the plants they don’t have.
Trade Me spokesperson Millie Silvester said the individual seedlings and sets are selling for “big bucks” online.
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“There is currently a full set of Little Garden seed pots onsite with a leading bid of $67.80,” she said. 138 people have saved the auction to their watchlist and it’s not due to close for another two days.
Just after New World launched Little Garden people began to search for the various seedlings in online marketplaces.
Last week, a full set of Little Garden seedlings sold for $72 after racking up almost 8,000 views. Interest in the promotion seems to be gaining momentum.
“In the last seven days we’ve seen 3,000 searches for Little Garden, that’s up 76 per cent on the week prior,” said Silvester.
“We typically see the number of listings for these items surge each time New World or Countdown release a new collectables range.”
When the first round of the promotion was nearing its end in 2016, full sets of the seedling kits were fetching more than $200 on Trade Me. The top price achieved was $210.
For context, the same set of plants could be purchased for just over $40 from a garden centre.
There are currently over 110 listings for the branded seedlings on Trade Me and the forces of free market capitalism are on full display.
Individual plants are being listed between $1 and $8 and others have been grouped into sets of three or 10 for varying prices between $10 and $20.
“Pester power is alive and well and it looks like many parents are willing to take the shortcut to fill their kid’s (or their own) seedling set,” said Silvester.
New World head of marketing and customer experience Pippa Prain said millions of the seedling kits have been given away and the promotion is “more popular than ever”.
“Whether customers get a Carla Carrot or Solomon Sage, it’s a lucky dip as to which seedlings customers receive for free with their shop. Rest assured, all seedlings are of an even split giving customers equal opportunity to redeem the full set over the campaign’s six-week period.”
She encouraged collectors to hang on to their double-ups because the supermarket is planning “future opportunities to swap at your local store”.
NZ Gardener editor Jo McCarroll said that for the current auction price of $70 parents could almost buy a punnet of each crop: “…which would be six plants of each; or a packet of seed for each crop which, with some types of seed, might give you hundreds of plants!”
“But if people are keen to grow the Little Garden plants specifically, no problem as far as I am concerned. It’s really fun growing from seed, and harvesting the crops you’ve grown, and this seems like a great way for beginners or kids to try growing something themselves.”
New World launched Little Garden in 2016 as a sustainable alternative to its popular Little Shop promotion, which saw shoppers collecting miniature plastic groceries.