Growth prospects strong for controlled-environment leafy greens

2020 has been a breakout year for indoor and greenhouse farming, and Abby Prior believes the momentum will continue to build. Prior, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Irvington, N.Y. based BrightFarms, spoke Dec. 14 with The Packer’s Tom Karst about the developments at BrightFarms and the broader indoor controlled environment industry.

BrightFarms, which grows lettuces, spinach, basil and other leafy greens, has seen explosive growth over the past five years. 2020 took demand to another level, she said. “We opened our largest farm yet in February of this year, and in March, the whole world changed,” she said. “We were opening our largest farm yet, and trying to get it up to the maximum capacity as fast as we possibly could.”

Throughout the indoor controlled environment leafy greens segment, Prior said the pace of growth has doubled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think as consumers are becoming more and more knowledgeable about their food,  about the safety of their food (and) where their food is coming from, we have seen an exponential rise in sales,” she said, noting sales increases of 30% compared with a year ago.

BrightFarms now has four large commercial farms, with a couple more in development, and there are other players that are also growing, she said. “While we’re the leaders in scaling this business nationally, there are certainly several others doing the same and the indoor-grown segment has grown from about 1% of the total category to now approaching 3% of the category,” she said. 

Read more at Agweb (Tom Karst) 

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