"It appears that 14% of the consumers know the vegetable labels that would have terms on them such as organic, fairtrade, Demeter, local, ready to eat, and on the way to planet proof. However, 90% don't know food labels for vegetables," Gemma Tacken, Senior market researcher at Wageningen University, dived into the specifics of research they conducted amongst Dutch consumers.
So how much of a trigger would it be for them to see vertical farming added on a label?
On 24 November, Jakajima organized The Vertical Farming Conference jointly with the Agrifood Innovation Event in Veldhoven, the Netherlands.
Theo Tekstra with Fluence kicked off the panels by introducing the various ways how vertical farms contribute to the agriculture sector. For instance, vertical propagation would be super beneficial for greenhouse-, tunnel of open field growers to strengthen their young plants when grown indoors at the first stages. Other topics stressed were lighting, substrate, vertical farming and robotics, alternative proteins and more.
Gemma explains that in general, vertical farming is often misunderstood by consumers as most of them aren't familiar with the concept. However, even for the open field- and greenhouse production, many are unaware of what food production truly entails.
Signify was one of the head sponsors of the event with Stefan van der Voort and Edo Kolmer representing the team
This means that most consumers have no preknowledge on the products. Thus, the vertical farming story can be built from scratch on the fact that 71% of consumers are not familiar or barely familiar with vertical farming. The perception of vertical farming has a low understanding feature so it requests further explanation which creates prospects.
Besides various Dutch visitors, the event also gained international attention. Alessandro Rigato with Siemens Financial Services, Lilly Manzoni with LettUs Grow and Mark Horler with FarmTech Society were present as well.
So, more information and guidance are needed for consumers for them to better understand the benefits of vertical farming as there clearly is a gap. The key sets of vertical farming are now, not yet valued by customers. Whereas interesting labels are more easily mentioned than the assets of the products, thus where can we tackle the next opportunity?