04/01/2021 – Farming / Sustainability / Whole Foods / Infarm / Vertical / In-store / Retail / Modular
Whole Foods Market and Infarm tie-up brings ‘vertical farms’ in-store
Whole Foods Market has become the third major retailer in the UK to install vertical farms, as it looks to grow produce in store and offer its customers a more sustainable way to shop.
Whole Foods Market’s customers are now able to purchase a range of fresh produce that has been grown by Infarm – developer of a smart modular farming system, and the world's fastest growing urban farming network today.
It marks the third major expansion into the UK retail space for Berlin-headquartered Infarm, as retailers seek ways to reduce the environmental footprint in their supply chain and develop their range of sustainable produce.
Fresh produce grown directly in store
Infarm has installed two of its modular vertical farming units in two of Whole Foods Market's London outlets; High Street Kensington and Fulham, so shoppers can buy fresh produce grown directly in stores of the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer. Whole Foods Market's remaining five London stores will be supplied with produce from a local Infarm growing centre in Tottenham, providing flexible supply as and when required.
The partnership between Infarm and Whole Foods Market aims to satisfy increasing consumer demand for sustainably grown products, helping customers to both make healthy choices and reduce their food waste.
The launch follows deals with Selfridges London and Marks & Spencer, as well as the online delivery service Farmdrop, and shows how a growing number of retailers are now taking action to create a more sustainable food system.
“Hyper-local selection of greens and herbs”
“Whole Foods Market felt like a perfect fit for Infarm,” remarked Daniel Kats, VP of Corporate Sales at the vertical farming tech firm. “[Whole Foods Market’s] commitment to providing customers with vibrant, sustainable food aligns with our goal of growing produce locally and, in the process, substantially reducing food waste and the environmental impact of what we consume. We hope that in installing our modular farms in Kensington and Fulham, we can help to educate shoppers about the future of food,” he added.
Jade Hoai, Director of Purchasing and Operations at Whole Foods Market, said her firm was “excited to partner with Infarm to offer a truly hyper-local selection of greens and herbs across all of our London stores”.
“Whole Foods Market customers can expect to find fresh, unique herbs from Infarm's vertical growing units like Bordeaux purple basil, that are grown locally, have no pesticides, and use a fraction of the traditional resources required to grow,” Ms. Hoai continued. “We are excited about this relationship for its joint commitment to environmental stewardship and for the delicious, nutritious meals our customers will be crafting at home.”
Exceptional for freshness and sustainability
Whole Foods Market shoppers will be able to purchase Infarm's range of herbs, including Mountain Coriander, Flat Parsley, Basil, Mint, Dill and Thai Basil. Infarm's range of fresh lettuce (Crystal, Caravel, Duo and Red Romaine) will also be available to buy. Whole Foods Market is also set to stock Nero di Toscana, Scarlet Kale, Sorrel and Red Stem Mizuna.
Infarm farmers visit the store after each growth cycle to add new seedlings to the farm. The plants retain their roots post-harvest to maintain exceptional flavour and freshness, meaning they're still alive when harvested.
The expansion comes as retailers look to find innovative ways to combat climate change. Infarm units use 95 per cent less water and 90 per cent less transport than traditional agriculture, as well as 75 per cent less fertiliser and no pesticides. Measuring just two square metres, Infarm's in-store farms produce more than 8,000 plants per year.
Founded in Berlin in 2013, Infarm has since partnered with more than 30 major food retailers globally, including Albert Heijn, Aldi Süd, Amazon Fresh, Auchan, Casino, E.Leclerc, Edeka, Empire Company Ltd (Safeway, Sobeys, ThriftyFoods), Farmdrop, Intermarché, Irma, Kinokuniya, Kroger, Marks & Spencer, Metro, Migros, Selfridges and Selgros in Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the UK, the US and Switzerland. The innovative firm has deployed more than 1,000 farms in stores and distribution centres, saved more than 7,000,000 gallons of water and 400,000 square feet of land, while harvesting over 500,000 plants monthly – and growing.