Eelco Ockers, CEO of PlantLab, talks about the scale-up's future steps.
The price we pay for our food is not always the price that is actually paid. Our dinner does not simply end up on our plates. There is often a long - at the same time environmentally damaging - road that precedes it. PlantLab's mission is to solve the world food problem. Recently, the scale-up raised an investment of 50 million euros, led by De Hoge Dennen Capital. This brings the total amount invested to 120 million euros.
When did the moment come when the founders wanted to start producing themselves?
''About five years ago, the time was right to start doing it ourselves. For that, of course, money was needed. Hoge Dennen Capital also made the first investment at that time. At the time, 20 million euros was raised. That money was used to start up the first three locations. We looked at very different conditions to see if we could build indoor farms there and if we could also produce herbs, lettuce and other crops.''
Are there any drawbacks?
''The biggest challenge we have is the energy use. We use energy, of course, with the LED lighting. We are constantly working, together with our suppliers, to find ways to make the LED lights more energy efficient. How can we make the plants grow while maximizing the light? You're also working on whether you can work with solar panels. If you manage to close that loop, you're almost circular. We're already using only green energy.''