Italian food company invests in vertical farmer for its pasta sauces

Barilla, an Italian family-owned food company, opens up to vertical farming. They're starting a partnership with Zero Farms, through its venture arm Blu1877. The first project of Zero technology in the Barilla world will be focused on the production of greens used for the production of Barilla's ready-to-eat sauces, such as basil. 

Vertical farming has become one of the emerging investment trends in recent years. The overall economic sustainability of this cultivation technology, complex and expensive, is however the critical factor that explains why vertical farming is still a limited phenomenon in terms of real industrial application.

Barilla's agreement with Zero, an Italian company founded in early 2018 that merges agronomy, engineering, and software development skills, fits into this general context. Zero has developed a proprietary technology for the modular, large-scale creation of vertical farms. Zero, thanks to a portfolio of patented technologies, has managed to lower the cost of building the plants while increasing their productivity and quickly scaling their production capacity.

The first exploration project of Zero technology in the Barilla world will concern the production chain of some of the vegetable raw materials used for the production of Barilla ready-made sauces. Barilla and Zero have set themselves the goal of perfecting together a path that begins with research and development and then moves on to preliminary studies of industrial feasibility. The agreement with Blu1877, Barilla's Venture Arm, aims to consolidate this collaboration to explore the new opportunities offered by vertical farming.

"We founded Blu1877 with the aim of creating a bridge between Barilla and the ecosystem of start-ups that are innovating the food sector," says Michela Petronio, VP of Blu1877, corporate venture of Barilla Group, "because we are convinced that the evolution towards a more sustainable future also passes through the development of partnerships and alliances of this type. We are very pleased to have found in Zero an Italian partner, competitive and with a high technological level, already engaged in important challenges for our Planet." 

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