‘Salad as a service’: retailers’ interest for in-store farm grows

Retailers will be aware of software as a service (SaaS) – and they may have noticed the emergence of the shopping-centre-as-a-service model, described by Computer Weekly in 2019 – but what about ‘salad as a service’, the latest SaaS opportunity?

If they haven’t yet, they soon might. For food retailers, it could revolutionize supply chains, boost companies’ environmental credentials and drive new customer experiences. The concept is related to the evolution of vertical farming, also known as controlled environment agriculture. Vertical farming allows food to be grown independently from climate conditions and other outside elements.

Typically, in aeroponic system vertical farming, plants are grown vertically, with their roots suspended, soil-free, in cylinders where they are nourished with nutrients. LED lighting is increasingly being used in the process to influence how plants grow and taste.

Although the vertical farming term was first coined over a century ago, interest and investment in it has ramped up in recent times for several core reasons, not least enhancements in technology and a renewed focus by businesses on their eco-credentials. 

Reflecting on a Mintel 2019 study, Mintel analyst Armando Falcao says vertical farming “can reduce wastage and preserve available resources”. “Food wastage is a key concern of grocery shoppers, and Mintel research shows that 83% of consumers think it’s important to cut back on the amount of food that is wasted,” he adds.

Read more at Computer Weekly (Ben Sillitoe)

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